BUILD's Diversity & Social Action Blog Series - Article #2
Juneteenth became a federal holiday in America last year creating a buzz of excitement around the summer. After events inciting social unrest and protests condemning racial violence in the United States, many companies and organizations attempted to fight racism and embrace cultural inclusion by commemorating the holiday. However, many have commented on how this legislation has spurred critical conversations on specifically how we should celebrate the emancipation of African-Americans.
From “Juneteenth” themed ice cream to watermelon salad, some organizations have received backlash from various communities despite their intentions. With proper education and action, companies can limit misguided gestures and cultural appropriation in their practices by investing in DEI efforts that create a solid foundation for racial equity. It all begins with understanding the significance of this holiday and why it is relevant in a society that is still fraught with racism, discrimination and prejudice.
In this blog, discover the lasting impact and history of Juneteenth and learn meaningful ways to celebrate freedom year-round.
Why We Celebrate
On June 19, 1865, two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing almost three million African-Americans across America, Texas residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished. With their newfound and long-awaited emancipation, African-Americans celebrated with prayer, feasts and jubilation.
During the summer of 2020, interest in this holiday was reinvigorated nationwide as protests followed after the unjust police killings of Black Americans including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Two years later, our nation is still grappling with extreme loss as incidents of violence against the Black community continue to occur. Juneteenth celebrations resonate in new ways for us as we not only commemorate this day, but recognize, reflect and fight for a more just and equitable society for all.
BUILD Celebrates Freedom
This year, we wanted to share ways that we can continue to uplift our students, educate our community and show our support for racial equity in meaningful ways. We believe that by commemorating this day, we are recognizing and supporting the Black community and our youth from different backgrounds. We hope that the next generation of leaders and changemakers continue to break down the barriers set before them and create a diverse, inclusive society in the future.