Why (and How) We Celebrate Juneteenth

Why (and How) We Celebrate Juneteenth at UKG

Back in February, we brought you some suggestions for celebrating Black History Month as an organization. This time around, I’m here to talk about another important holiday that we can celebrate together — Juneteenth.

If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth, no worries! Here’s a quick recap to catch you up to speed:

What is Juneteenth?

June 19, 1865 marks the day that the last slaves were emancipated from parts of the deep South in the United States; two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. After ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially solidified the end of slavery into the Constitution, parts of the South refused to free slaves. Texas, in particular, did not inform thousands of slaves about their freedom until Union Gen. Gordon Granger issued an official order. Texas is now one of 47 states that recognizes Juneteenth as a State holiday.

The celebration of Juneteenth declined during the Jim Crow Era, mainly due to the harsh and oppressive conditions that Black citizens still experienced. However, the 1960s civil rights movement sparked a reemergence of the day’s recognition and celebration. In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. planned the Poor People’s March in Washington D.C. that attracted over 50,000 people, including many white Americans. The march was deliberately scheduled for Juneteenth to reintroduce Black citizens to the significance of this day.

Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth is celebrated by many different people and in many different ways. One of the ways we celebrate Juneteenth here at UKG is by recognizing it as a company holiday. That way, we can all step away from work and reflect on this celebration of freedom. Juneteenth has special importance to us all, but here’s some insight into why it’s important at UKG:

However, taking time away from work isn’t the only way to celebrate. Below are a few examples of ways that you can celebrate this year!

  • Signing and sharing a petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday
  • Sharing oral histories and readings related to Black/African American culture
  • Attending festivals, picnics, and barbecues honoring the day
  • Wearing black, green, and red clothing and apparel
  • Family movie/reading night of African American films about Black history
  • Juneteenth food and beverage including “red soda” (strawberry soda), black, red, and green bean salad, and other soul food
  • Donate to charities and/or organizations that support the Black community

Showing Support During Juneteenth

Another way to celebrate Juneteenth is by supporting Black-owned businesses and events. And for any readers interested in professional development, UKG will be sponsoring The BLK Men in Tech conference happening on Juneteenth!

This conference aims to not only offer Black men resources to thrive, but also provide allies with vital information to support their community and improve retention and engagement. Not only is it completely free to attend, but you can also learn from many professionals in the technology industry.

We’ll also have a virtual booth at the BLK Men in Tech conference to answer any questions about open job positions at UKG, so please be sure to stop by and say hello. We hope to see you there!