By: Kaiya Barrett on June 15th, 2022
What I Am Still Learning About Juneteenth
The process and care that goes into building a community are never-ending. While access to plans and resources is key, the people and intent behind it matter more. When you think about the celebration of Juneteenth and how it applies to you, think about the growth of your community and the ideas that drive progress. We’re better together and everyone can get behind efforts to bring people into a universal celebration of freedom and liberty.
What is Juneteenth?
At its core, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, progress, and success for African Americans. It marked the end of slavery in the United States and commemorates the date in 1865 when the Union army arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation two years after issuance. For decades, communities across the country have held their own commemorative Juneteenth events focusing on the resiliency and heavy cultural impact of African Americans. In 2021, Juneteenth became the 11th federally observed holiday.
How To Show Your Support
I have a bit of news for you … it’s okay to not know everything about Juneteenth. I grew up with some knowledge, but I did not fully understand the true meaning of this holiday until I became an adult. The topic of slavery is sensitive and sparks a number of reactions. It has always been my view that when you’re talking about celebrating Juneteenth, you should look at it as a reflection of how far we’ve come as a country.
Sure, there is still a ton of work to do, but the end of slavery marked the beginning of trying to reach the promise of the original vision of this country. To be a land where all people are created equal. No matter your race or background, these are all qualities to which we can relate.
Last year, ConstructConnect leadership decided to observe Juneteenth on our company calendar, closing U.S. offices on Monday, June 20. If your company has decided to observe this holiday and give you a day off from work, take it as a time to reflect and contribute to forward progress. Here are some ideas:
- Head out to a local Juneteenth event
- Support a Black-owned business
- Visit a local African American historical landmark or museum
- Volunteer for or organize a community service project
- Throw your own party and invite your neighbors (It’s another Independence Day, so bring the fireworks)
- Read and research the history yourself
It’s never too late to educate yourself and those around you about the history that brought us to this place and time. As we continue to fight for equality and inclusion in the construction industry for diverse workers, there are ways to help show your support and to learn more.
- National Black Contractors Association
- African American Contractors Association
- National Association for Black Women in Construction
- National Association for Minority Contractors
We asked a few members of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board to speak about the federal holiday and how they plan to celebrate. Our DEI Board has been in place since 2019 and aims to help create a positive work environment where we celebrate diversity in thought across teams, increase awareness of DEI topics, and work to increase our number of female, minority, and veteran applicants.