Juneteenth Activities: Recognizing and Celebrating Juneteenth at Work

Cities from across the country are preparing to gather for Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the official end of slavery. Juneteenth has been celebrated since the 1800s, but in recent years, given the widespread protests regarding equality and the rights of African Americans in the United States, there has been a renewed interest in acknowledging Juneteenth. Specifically, emphasizing the importance of celebrating Juneteenth at work.

What is Juneteenth? 

June 19th or Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, (2 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation), a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform the end of the Civil War and the freedom of the enslaved African Americans. The holiday is commonly known as Juneteenth, but some also call it “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.” Several states including Texas, Washington, and New York recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday and some even provide employees paid time off work. 

How America Celebrates Juneteenth

Since its original date, Juneteenth has been celebrated annually across the country. Families would come together and pray on this special day and some would even make a pilgrimage back to Galveston, Texas. Today, families and communities still come together to share food and remember Juneteenth, but celebrations have expanded in several parts of the country. Some cities like Atlanta and Washington D.C. hold parades and festivals to remember the important date, and others host pageants and picnics.  

How to Celebrate Juneteenth at Work

There are plenty of Juneteenth activities for companies to celebrate the historic day. Here’s a short list of some great ways to celebrate Juneteenth in the workplace.

Educational Juneteenth Activities

Unfortunately, many people don’t celebrate Juneteenth because they don’t understand the full history behind it. A great way to honor the day is by educating your employees on the origin and importance of Juneteenth!

Invite speakers or host panel discussions with historians, community leaders, or employees who can share insights about the history and significance of Juneteenth. Your could even provide a list of recommended books and articles related to Juneteenth and African American history. Consider hosting a discussion group or book club meeting.

Cultural Juneteenth Celebrations

African American culture should be celebrated all year round, but Juneteenth is a great time to highlight their vibrant culture for those who don’t always experience African American arts and culture.

You can do this by hosting performances by local musicians, dancers, poets, or other artists that celebrate African American culture–or displaying artwork from Black artists in common areas or virtually. Consider including works that reflect the themes of freedom and emancipation.

Community Engagement

This day is a great opportunity to give back to the Black community through volunteering or charitable donations. Businesses can coordinate community service projects that support African American communities or racial justice initiatives, or collaborate with local nonprofits, cultural centers, or historical societies to support Juneteenth events and activities.

Not sure where to start? Our team can facilitate your charity event and work with an African American charity of your choice to donate funds or goods. Take a look at our charity programs and our team will help you find a local charity to partner with.

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Acknowledgment and Celebration

A great way to celebrate the day is by acknowledging Juneteenth as a company holiday or a day of observance and allowing employees time to participate in celebrations and reflections. Share messages from leadership recognizing Juneteenth and its significance and highlight employee stories and experiences related to the holiday.

Inclusivity Team Building Events

Just as Juneteenth signifies the end of slavery and the beginning of a new era of equality, team building events bring people together, regardless of race or background, to collaborate, communicate, and build lasting connections. By celebrating our differences and promoting understanding, we create a stronger, more cohesive team that reflects the spirit of inclusivity and unity championed by Juneteenth.

Enhance skills and productivity and foster a culture of unity and respect among diverse team members with Juneteenth-themed trivia! In this virtual celebration, we spotlight the diverse history and contributions of African American arts and artisans. Your team will explore visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary arts, and other forms of cultural expression – all of which have played a paramount role in shaping the African American influence.

Get Your Juneteenth Activities Started

Juneteenth marks a day of hope for the African American community in the United States. It is important for companies and coworkers to engage in an open dialogue and process what this day means for Americans. Celebrating Juneteenth at work can be easy through company recognition of the holiday or activities that encourage deep listening, empathy, and inclusion.

Our crew at TeamBonding is happy to help facilitate your workplace Juneteenth celebrations and activities. Get in touch with us today to start planning your Juneteenth activities.

 

 

Camille VanBuskirk

Team Contributor

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