This Juneteenth, we not only celebrate, but ACTIVATE our allies, our communities, and our nation! While the repairs will address history, more immediate change is possible if this day of remembrance is seen as a calling card for action!
More than 400 years have passed since the beginning of slavery; over 150 years since we celebrated Juneteenth as our “Second Independence Day;” and 3 years since the nation officially observed June 16 as a federal holiday.
We have come far as a nation in addressing our history and moving forward productively. Still, we feel the burn of inequality like a fresh wound… So what’s next for us? Are they repairs?
Although there has been progress in raising awareness of reparations and their importance, the complexity of implementation remains a challenge.
Opponents can believe “African Americans are treated equally in today’s society.”, however, there are endless examples where this is not at all the reality: the racial wealth gapthe income gap, the housing gap, the healthcare gap, the education gap, where does it end?
Nonetheless, the recognition of Juneteenth as an official federal holiday has left an impression on Americans of all origins. Belief in reparations continues to grow, particularly among younger generations.
These younger demographics look forward to action across the society on systemic racism, especially by organizations.
For the black community, Juneteenth is a day of freedom, peace and rejuvenation. For our allies, Juneteenth should serve as a call to action, a push to make change a reality, not just a nice-sounding platitude.
HELLO LEADERS – This is where you come in! At every level, type of organization, and location, leadership sets the pace for racial justice.
Through Juneteenth, we can understand how racial justice is inseparable in the narrative of our nation’s past and aspirational future. In the present, Juneteenth is celebrated for its importance, however, the celebration and the action are two separate things.
Action is where your DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) goals come into play.
Celebrating Juneteenth in the workplace reassures Black employees that your organization recognizes Black heritage and the undeniable struggle of simply being Black. Action, including taking concrete steps to increase access to opportunity, is what we can deliver at Juneteenth.
Look beyond campaigns, office parties and staff days off. Addressing equity should guide its initiates. If you’re celebrating Juneteenth, you also need a substantial, measurable, and accountable roadmap that documents how you’re acting on solidarity with the black community.
Your organization may need a heavy dose of ACTIVATION to meet the demands for solidarity.
These may include:
- Anti-racism training throughout your organization.
- Reappraise your talent pipeline and extend your efforts to HBCUs.
- Recruitment based on experience over education to reach historically excluded talent.
- Connect BIPOC staff with mentoring and sponsorship.
- Develop programs to invest in and support black-owned businesses.
- Create your working group of internal experts or DEI consultants to help you analyze and report on your progress for Juneteenth of the coming year.
We urge everyone to build long-term partnerships and initiatives that embody the Juneteenth promise of freedom! We encourage the black community to rest and restore. We urge our allies to activate and act! #blackbank #BuyBlack
The publication Juneteenth: A Day for Action first appeared on OneUnited Bank.