How companies’ observances of Juneteenth are evolving, according to DE&I execs from Levi’s, FleishmanHillard

Avoid performative gestures around the holiday.

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Juneteenth communications should be rooted in DE&I

While long celebrated by Black Americans, Juneteenth has gained a broader understanding and recognition since 2020, when the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police and the resulting racial reckoning prompted many organizations to observe the holiday for the first time.

“It’s very important that we understand that there’s more than one independence day that’s held as really important in this country,” said Elizabeth Morrison, chief diversity, inclusion & belonging officer at Levi Strauss & Co.

Since June 19 falls on a Sunday this year – coinciding with Father’s Day – many organizations will be celebrating the following week.

From hasty celebrations put together in a few weeks in 2020 to more thoughtful, elaborate observances in 2021 and even its establishment as a federal holiday, organizations of all kinds are working to grow their programming and storytelling around Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that they had been freed – two years earlier.

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