Juneteenth is the celebration to commemorate the day enslaved Black Americans were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively ended slavery in the United States.
In 2020, Juneteenth gained widespread recognition in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. Businesses and organizations began to recognize the day shortly after the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and made significant investments towards removing obstacles to Black employees' advancement, a noteworthy example of how our voices can influence change.
In 2021, President Joe Biden officially proclaimed June 19th as Juneteenth Day of Observance.
Juneteenth is more than just a once-a-year holiday. Juneteenth is more than just a day to remember. Juneteenth entails a commitment. A pledge to genuine racial equity. Juneteenth is a reminder for us all to fully invest and demonstrate our commitment to justice and antiracism.
This commitment to drive change must go beyond this National Day of Observance in June, once a year.
Here are a few suggestions our partners have shared with us on how we can all celebrate Juneteenth:
Support a cause.
Donate to an organization that is leading change in the Black community. You can support any cause by attending a local event or by volunteering.
Partner with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) experts.
Experts in DEIB can instruct your team on key areas of improving your organization's racial representation and/or commitment to diversity and inclusion. Leaders in DEIB can provide various training, such as how to overcome biases in your company's recruitment process or teaching methods on how to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion remain a priority within your organization.
Take a look within your organization.
What are some ways that you are challenging systems and enabling your Black employees to thrive? What can your organization do to combat historic structural racist housing policies? How is your organization engaging and empowering Black employees to design and evaluate your plans to advance change?
At CSH, we saw the significant overrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) individuals within the homeless system and institutional settings. Yet, there remains a substantial underrepresentation of BIPOC developers in the affordable and supportive housing industries. For that reason, we launched the Redesigning Access by Centering Equity (RACE) Initiative, you can learn more about the RACE Initiative or how to get involved by visiting www.csh.org/race