Pyn • Holidays and Observances

How to celebrate Juneteenth at work

Here’s how we’re honoring Juneteenth, the oldest known holiday that commemorates the effective end of slavery of African Americans in the United States, which takes place on June 19.

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As you may know, Juneteenth is right around the corner. For those who participate in Juneteenth celebrations, we hope you have a joyful holiday! Feel free to read on if you're curious about what our company is doing to honor this day. 

For those to whom Juneteenth is less familiar, we want to use this as an opportunity to share more about the history behind this holiday, as well as recommendations to help our non-Black staff reflect on the significance of this day. 

What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) is the oldest known holiday that commemorates the effective end of slavery of African Americans in the United States. It celebrates the day, June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free the enslaved and declare the end of the Civil War. 

In 1866, the newly emancipated Black people in Texas organized the first annual celebration called "Jubilee Day" on June 19 to commemorate their freedom. These celebrations featured music, barbecues, prayer services, and other activities.

Over time, the Juneteenth celebration spread, and on January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas—thanks to the efforts of Al Edwards, a Black state legislator. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. 

Taking action

We encourage non-Black staff to take action as an ally. Making an impact doesn’t always have to be a time-intensive or laborious project. There are things you can do daily or routinely to practice allyship for your Black colleagues, and colleagues across other historically marginalized groups. For example: 

  • Speak up strategically, and/or check in privately with the targeted person when you witness acts of discrimination, hate, or racism.
  • Volunteer your time to organizations that defend civil rights or promote racial justice.
  • Support Black-owned businesses.
  • Start open dialogues about race with your friends and family.
  • Diversify your media consumption to include Black voices.

Continuing your education 

If you’re not Black, one of the best things you can do to support the Black community is to continue educating yourself about the history and current state of racism in the U.S so that you can take more informed anti-racist action. Also, don’t shy away from understanding your own biases and beliefs when it comes to race, and exploring and understanding your own racial identity.

Understanding these topics on a deeper level can help you identify what you can do, in practicing allyship, to help end anti-Black racism in the US. If you’re unsure how to get started on your educational journey, check out this list of recommended books, films, and podcasts to help you get going.  

Practicing self-care

For Black employees, we recognize that Juneteenth can be a time of both celebration and sorrow. We encourage you to take the time and space you need to take care of yourself and celebrate during this time. [In addition to giving our employees paid time off on June 19, we also have the following resources available for you: ]

  • [company resource]
  • [company resource]
  • [company resource]

If you need more time off or want access to other resources that we don’t currently provide, please let your manager know. 

Before you go...

Since the office will be closed on June 19 in observance of Juneteenth, here are a few reminders before you head out: 

  • Remind your colleagues and manager if you are taking additional time off before or after Juneteenth. 
  • Set your out-of-office messages to let colleagues and customers know when you’ll be back online.
  • Leave work at the office and use the day to self-reflect and participate in Juneteenth events.

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