This Sunday, June 19, is Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The date marks the day in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally told of their freedom, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The holiday has been celebrated by black Americans since the late 1800s, but it didn’t officially become a federal holiday until 2021 — and before that, only one in 10 Americans had a day off to celebrate.
Today, more and more companies and organizations widely honor the holiday. A recent addition is that of Audubon infinite blue, who noted that the reason was his “commitment to contributing to a better today and tomorrow”. The tech company also invited its employees to participate in a fundraiser for the non-profit association Coded by kids: For every dollar donated, Infinite Blue will match three for one up to $5,000. As of June 14, the company said, employees had contributed more than $1,000 to the goal.
Corporate recognition of Juneteenth has received a boost since the global Black Lives Matter protests of June 2020 (and in some cases corporate hands have been forced by the prospect of poor public relations if they don’t public statement).
A recent example of corporate monetary commitment for holidays is that of Wells Fargowho donated $250,000 to The business center to spruce up 52nd Street ahead of Sunday’s June 19 parade. The money will be used for new signage, barriers, doors, power washing, graffiti removal and sidewalk repairs along the commercial corridor. This grant is a continuation of the bank’s “HOPE, USA” initiative, which pledged more than $1 million in support for the 52nd Street Corridor ahead of the 2021 holiday shopping season. Enterprise Center and Wells Fargo will also be on hand during the parade and festival, providing resources for small business owners.
In what ways can an employer mark the day in a meaningful way? To start, remember that this can’t be the only day you’re thinking about diversity and inclusion practices, human resources consultant Jai Calloway advised to Technically Last year. You can share resources like story-based articles, interviews, panel discussions, or educational videos — and remind people that they have the opportunity to share resources year-round. Read more of his tips here.
As June 16, 2022 approaches, below is a look at some Philadelphia-focused, friendly digital events and resources to mark the occasion:
The event organized by the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative is one of the largest June 19 celebrations in the country. On June 19, the parade will begin at 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue and end with a festival at Malcolm X Park. The festival will feature local businesses, food vendors, art exhibits and more.
The Arch Street Museum has a few options for this weekend. Experience a free block party on Sunday afternoon, then an evening meet and chat with Bobby Seale, the activist and national chairman of the Black Panther Party. Be sure to get your tickets in advance.
During this weekend, the museum will highlight the stories of unsung black revolutionaries, such as James Forten and Deborah Squash. (Haven’t heard of Forten? Here’s what this generation of Philadelphia activists can learn from the abolitionist.) In-person events will include walking tours, gallery talks and crafts.
In the virtual museum, visitors can explore the stories of free and enslaved people of African descent during the revolutionary era. The tailored Finding Freedom online interactive feature will also be available to visitors. The online interactive is free and available at any time.
Johnson House Historic Site presents a hybrid roundtable on housing inequalities in black and brown communities. The panel will also discuss ending the loss of generational wealth in these communities. The panel will be moderated by Beth Gonzales and functionality Register of Wills Tracey L. Gordon and Ardelle’s house Executive Director Tony Willis. The event will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at 6133 Germantown Ave. or live on the Philadelphia Juneteenth Fest Facebook page.
The Library Company of Philadelphia welcomes public historian and artist Michelle Broder to be presented on the Monument of the Mothers of Gynecology. This exhibition focuses on three women, known as Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey. Browder will talk about his “decades-long practice of intervening in mainstream historical narratives and building alternative institutions,” according to the event page. In-person tickets are sold out, but the event is also virtual and can be booked online.