Juneteenth: Celebrating Resilience and Hope
The celebration of Juneteenth as African American Emancipation Day began in Galveston, Texas in 1865. It is the oldest and most widely observed commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. And it has since extended across the country and around the world. In 1865, a Union commander informed enslaved African Americans of their freedom and the end of the civil war. The news arrived about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had formally declared this liberty.
Today, Juneteenth honors African American independence while emphasizing the importance of education and achievement. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will always have historical and spiritual importance. Its growing popularity provides an opportunity to reflect and rejoice, while also allowing time for self-evaluation, self-improvement, and future planning.
A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
FINCA recognizes the many roles and contributions of the African American spirit to our society. We embrace both the past and the future, which can only be realized through unity, respect, and appreciation. In 2020, FINCA decided to make Juneteenth a paid annual holiday for its US staff. Making this an official holiday not only allows employees to properly commemorate the day, but it also represents a cultural shift in how we see this pivotal day in American history and its continuing relevance today.
FINCA has been devoted to providing sustainable growth and financial services for disadvantaged communities for more than 35 years. As an organization founded on the principles of opportunity and inclusion for all, our dedication to diversity and inclusion has only increased. To counter racial inequality and inequity, FINCA employed several internal diversity and inclusion initiatives. This included creating a space for Black employees to educate and share their personal experiences with others, addressing unconscious bias in the workplace, improving our recruitment and hiring of people of color, and incorporating professional development practices to retain top talent from a variety of backgrounds. We have continued to evolve due to these thoughtful decisions, always striving to get it right and make the workplace a safe and inclusive environment.
Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth
Juneteenth celebrations have evolved over time, providing a variety of meaningful ways to gain a deeper understanding of why current-day celebrations are held. Juneteenth is also a great time to show your support for black-owned businesses and organizations. These small-scale efforts have a daily impact on work, quality of life, and community development. Here are three ways to embrace and commemorate this momentous holiday:
- Celebrate in the workplace. Recognizing Juneteenth in the workplace promotes business diversity values and shows that the organization cares about its diverse workforce. Discuss organizational diversity initiatives with your employees and assure them that race and gender will never be a barrier to their advancement within the organization.
- Get involved in your community. Support local organizations in your community by volunteering at a Juneteenth event, such as a virtual or in-person discussion, outdoor concert, parade, etc. You can also attend a barbeque or other festivities in your neighborhood and invite your friends and coworkers to participate.
- Start traditions at home. Gather around the table with your family or friends over a special meal. Exchange historical facts or quotes and examine how major historical events have influenced your life now. Make it a point to express gratitude to people who have assisted you in achieving your goals.