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Juneteenth: Celebrating at Work

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Celebrating Juneteenth

Above Juneteenth

Juneteenth was officially declared a national holiday in June of 2021, but was celebrated long before. Juneteenth celebrates the anniversary of the liberation of the last group of enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865. With Juneteenth marking the end of slavery, many recognize it to be an Independence Day, one in which the entirety of America was finally free. It serves as a day to celebrate the strength of the Black community and its freedom that took decades to realize. Juneteenth additionally serves as an opportunity to start a conversation and spread awareness of the struggles of Black Americans.

This holiday serves as an opportunity for organizations and companies to celebrate diversity and engage in inclusive workplace practices. Going beyond a paid workday off, there are numerous ways that organizations and their employee resource groups (ERGs) can celebrate Juneteenth. Here are a few!

Engage through friendly competitions

Introducing some healthy competition can be a great way for ERGs to not only educate employees, but also help them understand each other better and bond. It also strengthens the workplace relations to cultivate a more inclusive and enjoyable workplace.

  • Host a Juneteenth-themed trivia quiz that would be fun and informative

  • Organize a potluck that requires research to recreate traditional Juneteenth meals

  • Host a decorating contest where employees can decorate their office spaces with their interpretation of Juneteenth

Plan a celebratory day out

On Juneteenth, take some time out to appreciate the contributions that the Black and African-American communities have made to American culture. It is also a great way to commemorate what the day represents - the emancipation of a community. Similarly, company outings are an enjoyable way for ERGs to expose the workplace to cultural experiences that they may not share.

  • Visit a Black history museum or exhibit

  • Go to an Art exhibit, gallery, or musical performance by Black artists

  • Enjoy a meal at a Black-owned business

  • Attend a community Juneteenth street fair

Pledge support to the Black community

Slavery had many lasting implications on the Black community that now take the form of racial injustice. Use the company’s platform and reach to raise up Black voices and to give back to the community. Giving back to the community to help bridge those gaps, is a way for ERGs to support important causes and give visibility to these issues utilizing the organization’s platform.

  • Facilitate sessions where employees belonging to the Black community share their past struggles and triumphs

  • Host a community or work event with Black speakers, artists, and educators

  • Donate and volunteer at Black charity organizations

  • Organize company volunteer day where employees can volunteer with causes that racial injustice contributes to.

  • Sponsor and partner with a non-profit organizing a Juneteenth parade

Conducting surveys asking your employees how they would like to celebrate Juneteenth is another way to explore fresh ideas. While these are only some options, the aim of celebrating Juneteenth is to acknowledge hardships, cultural impact and success stories of the Black and African-American communities and champion diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace.


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