With Juneteenth just around the corner, let’s talk about a few appropriate ways companies can celebrate Juneteenth.
As you may have seen there are wrong ways for corporations to publicly celebrate Juneteenth, cough cough, we won’t mention any names… But, on the other hand, there are appropriate ways to show support for your Black employees on Juneteenth and every day after. First let me start by saying, pledging your support to Black people is nothing without action and meaningful change. The Black people who work for your organizations are Black with you 365 days of the year, meaning performative support during Juneteenth is bound to ruffle some feathers if that same sentiment isn’t reflected year-round within your organization.
Leaders within organizations need to understand that your employees may not be on board with your messaging because of the reality of their experiences with the organization. That does not mean that you should not recognize Juneteenth. It means you need to examine your company's culture so that your public words match your private actions. Here are a few tips to get started:
Tip #1 When celebrating Juneteenth within your corporation, you need to talk to the Black people that work there.
Tip#2: Look at the issues that have come up over the course of the year as it pertains to Black employees, things like pay disparities, promotions, and mentorship opportunities, and create measurable change.
Tip #3 Look at the things that your Black employees have been complaining about for decades then do something about that as a celebration of moving forward and moving towards a more equitable workplace for people who look like them.
Tip #4 Re-evaluate the non-profit organizations that you support and donate to. I’m often fascinated by how much money is given to organizations that already have money. There are so many organizations doing the work to help support Black people that go unrecognized because they don’t meet the high visibility of these larger organizations. The money companies give to larger organizations can be better utilized in the small Brown and Black run organization that are in the neighbors and communities that need them.
Tip# 5 Do your research and be intentional about how you celebrate Black people.
✨If you take nothing else from this remember that: pledging your support to Black people is nothing without action and meaningful change.✨