In the coming days, more organizations will celebrate Juneteenth.
While enslaved people were freed in Georgia and elsewhere with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, that message didn’t reach a group of enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865. Juneteenth commemorates their liberation.
Since the racial justice uprisings of 2020, companies have increasingly marked the occasion. That year many businesses observed Juneteenth, it became a federal holiday in 2021, and now Monday will be a paid day off for state workers as well. In addition, many organizations that were not able to develop new policies around the holiday following its adoption at the federal level last year have made progress in doing so for 2022.
Adding employee holidays is not always a frequent occurrence, and many employees may not realize the significance of Juneteenth. Beyond the technical adjustments of payroll and time-tracking, HR professionals have an opportunity to proactively:
- Develop programming (link: https://thediversitymovement.com/juneteenth-programming-guide/) and demonstrate commitments to employee resource groups (link: https://www.builtinchicago.org/2021/06/17/chicago-tech-companies-celebrate-juneteenth)
- Visibly support the broader Atlanta community (link: https://www.juneteenthatl.com/)
- Serve as an authority on adopting the holiday (link: https://sbshrs.adpinfo.com/blog/juneteenth-holiday-what-employers-need-to-know)
- Address cultural appropriation (link: https://www.hrdive.com/news/juneteenth-workplace-cultural-appropriation/624710/) and misconduct (link: https://ogletree.com/insights/addressing-race-discrimination-complaints-in-the-workplace/)
- Build your professional capacity to shape diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations (link: https://soahr.net/2022schedule/)
- Partner with executives in ensuring business and values alignment (link: https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/business/nike-companies-just-made-juneteenth-paid-holiday/)
Each organization must determine its own approach to Juneteenth, and even if a paid holiday is not possible or appropriate for your organization, Atlanta HR professionals can be leaders in advancing awareness of this important date in American history.