As a nation we now struggle to navigate a very troubling and emotional time where we question civil rights and equality, reflecting on our own behaviors, actions—and for some of us, everything we previously believed to be reality. Police brutality and racially charged incidents that have traditionally been unrecognized or ignored by the majority, are being brought to the forefront of countless people’s minds and conversations, motivating millions to march here in the U.S. and overseas. Meanwhile, many of us are seeking answers on how we can contribute and support positive change. We recognize and acknowledge the impact that recent events have had—and continue to have—on our workforce.
As the world unites to address the inequities of Black people, we want to spotlight the important holiday today, Friday, June 19th. This holiday, mainly known as Juneteenth, but also referred to as Emancipation or Freedom Day, is one of the oldest known holidays held in commemoration of the true ending of slavery in the U.S. in 1865. On this day, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas that the war was over and the slaves were now free. This came 2.5 years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which was minimally enforced due to the lack of Union troops. A more thorough timeline leading to this date can be found here.
At a pivotal point in history, this year, Juneteenth will draw millions of supporters, with celebrations around the world. As a Day & Zimmermann company that is dedicated to creating an open environment of inclusion and diversity, we encourage you to join in celebrating this monumental day in Black history to further support our beliefs in creating and maintaining safe and inclusive environments in our communities. The website Juneteenth.com has more information and resources on ways to become involved.
Last week, our Multicultural Resource Group hosted a powerful and meaningful panel discussion for our employees to engage in an open dialogue on current events—a starting point to more discussions in the future. This topic is at the forefront of our ongoing discussions and we are working closely within our Government Services Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Employee Resource Groups, and Executive Diversity & Inclusion Board, to create opportunities to help lift up our employees and open up the dialogue during this challenging and traumatic time in history.
As we celebrate Juneteenth this year, we are reminded that our country still has a long way to go in order to create a welcoming and safe environment for all people of color. Day & Zimmermann is committed to being a beacon of change for our employees, customers, and communities.
Steven G. Selfridge
President | SOC