Juneteenth, celebrated the 19th of June, is a holiday that observes the end of slavery in the U.S. and marks the day in 1865 when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy. Though only officially declared our nation’s newest federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been celebrated for decades through family gatherings and other local celebration events, such as memorials, parades, or public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.
It has been troubling to know that the holiday has only received national attention in recent years due to an onslaught of transgressions against the African American community — in particular after the global protests sparked in 2020 by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks. This Juneteenth, I want to remind you that allyship for the black community isn’t confined to a day, month, or social movement; rather, it’s an ethical and moral compass that can and should be used to guide day-to-day interactions.
For many, celebrating Juneteenth provides the opportunity to honor Black culture and the Black experience, recognizing the depth and complexity of African American history and its implications for us all. To The Council, we believe that in celebrating Juneteenth, we are reaffirming our constant and unwavering commitment to amplifying the voices and experiences of minority communities across the globe. After all, our central mission is to help educate, develop, and uplift minority communities in business, creating systemic change in how leading corporations engage with them now and in the future.
This year, I implore you to look within yourself and your organization, seeking out places and opportunities where you can amplify diverse thoughts and perspectives—and speak up for those otherwise silenced or overlooked. It is only together that we can work to dismantle systemic structures of oppression that have plagued African Americans and other minority communities for generations, thereby allowing them the same freedoms and opportunities enjoyed by white Americans for decades.
Let this continue to be a movement and not just a moment.