Respectfully celebrating Juneteenth

June 19, 2023 Updated: July 11, 2023 7 min read

From its beginning, Clovers set out with one mission: to empower hiring teams to make smarter, data-based decisions. We wanted to reduce bias in hiring and, in turn, help organizations build more inclusive teams. 

And because we know that diverse workspaces see more innovation, success, and happiness, we celebrate diversity year-round. 

With that in mind, we will take the time to observe Juneteenth thoughtfully.

How will you be marking the day? Keep reading for a few ideas.

First, a little history

Midway through the Civil War, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation. His decree legally freed enslaved people living outside of the Union. 

Juneteenth celebrates the day this news reached Texas, the westernmost Confederate territory. On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston and declared the enslaved people of the state free. More than 250,000 people were liberated from slavery that day.

The following year, in 1866, was the first official Juneteenth celebration. The people of Texas celebrated with prayer meetings, songs, and family gatherings. In the years after that, African Americans in nearby states began celebrating too.

In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texan state holiday. In 2021, it became an official federal holiday. 

Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or Black Independence Day.

Honoring Juneteenth

Juneteenth is an opportunity to seriously reflect on slavery and the impact it still has on generations of people. Juneteenth is also a reminder to continue learning about the ongoing effects of racism. Thoughtful observance of Juneteenth is a chance to consider how we might support the ongoing work of Black liberation.

At the same time, Juneteenth is a day to uplift and honor Black people. When we pause to observe Juneteenth, we reflect on the ways they contribute to our communities, our workplaces, our country, and our culture. We should look at Juneteenth as an opportunity to celebrate Black success and joy

Ways to observe Juneteenth

This year, take some time to celebrate Juneteenth by learning something new, doing something new, or taking on a bit of both.

Learn something new

Take Juneteenth as a chance to learn more about Black history and the Black experience in the United States.

What to watch

Take some time to learn from shows, films, or documentaries. Some good places to start:

  • The Color Purple. A film based on the classic novel by Alice Walker. (P.S. Stay tuned for the 2023 remake coming out this December).
  • The Hate U Give. Based on a young adult novel, this film follows a Black high school student who witnesses a police shooting.
  • Selma. A historical drama based on the voting rights marches of 1965.
  • 13th. A documentary explores the mass incarceration of Black men in the United States.

What to read

Harvard University compiled a reading list for those looking to learn about racial justice, equity, and anti-racism. Here are a few to look into:

  • The New Jim Crow. A New York Times bestseller by Michelle Alexander, this book investigates the mass incarceration of Black people in the States.
  • How to Be an Antiracist. This work by Ibram X. Kendi encourages readers to change the way they engage with social justice work.
  • Just Mercy. A memoir, and now a movie, that follows Bryan Stevenson as he embarks on a law career defending disadvantaged and marginalized clients. 
  • The Case for Reparations.” This article in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates encourages a repayment of debt for the many wrongs of racism.

What to listen to 

If you’d rather listen than read, there are some great podcasts worth checking out. Start here:

  • Code Switch. Hosted by journalists of color, this NPR podcast shares conversations about race and how it affects all parts of life.
  • The Diversity Gap Podcast. This podcast hosts discussions about diversity, inclusion, and impact.
  • Pod Save the People. News, culture, social justice, and politics are discussed by hosts who pay special attention to topics that most often affect people of color.

Where to learn more

Looking for more and ready for some travel? Here’s a list of museums worth checking out:

Do something new

Engage with Black-influenced art, food, and business this weekend.

What to enjoy

Celebrate Black contributions to art and culture by enjoying poetry, movies, or TV shows that center Black artists.

  • A Ballerina’s Tale. Watch a documentary that follows Misty Copeland, the first Black woman to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater.
  • The Hill We Climb.” Read the print version of Amanda Gorman’s beautiful spoken word poem, delivered at the 2021 presidential inauguration.
  • Black Panther. A successful and exciting superhero movie and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Black-ish. Enjoy eight seasons of this ABC sitcom that follows a Black family navigating life in a predominantly white neighborhood.

Where to shop

Going out? Support Black-owned businesses along the way.

  • Support Black Owned can help you find local businesses to shop from near you.
  • National Black Guide is a site and app that can locate closeby Black Owned businesses too.
  • EatOkra is a popular app that helps users find Black-owned restaurants. 

Where to celebrate

Try Googling “Juneteenth celebrations near me” or check out this list of places to celebrate, published by the U.S. News & World Report. Here are a few of their top suggestions:

  • Fort Worth, Texas. The first place that Juneteenth was celebrated.
  • Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will be hosting indoor and outdoor events for families.
  • Auburn, New York. The last home of Harriet Tubman and the location of a Juneteenth Celebration that includes vendors, music, food, and other fun activities.
  • Montgomery, Alabama. The birthplace of the civil rights movement, with both a memorial, museum, and various Juneteenth events.

Where to give

Consider donating to organizations that work for racial justice and equity. The Better Business Bureau published a list of accredited charities, and we’ve got a few more options too:

After Juneteenth

The fight for racial justice in our country is ongoing. This means efforts to include and uplift Black people do not stop after Juneteenth.

At home

Continue to support Black artists, learn Black history, and support Black-owned businesses. Have an open dialogue with friends and family about how we can all support more inclusive communities. 

If you can, become a regular donor to organizations that help people impacted by racism and racist systems. And always stay open to learning more.

At work

It’s just as important to foster justice and inclusion in our workplaces. Invite Black thought-leaders to speak, engage in ongoing education, and ensure fair, unbiased hiring practices are in place. 

Invest in DEIB efforts whenever possible, and continue to make your workplace a space where Black colleagues feel safe and are set up for success.

Clovers & Inclusion

At Clovers, we believe in the importance of diversity in the workplace. And we want to help others foster healthy, diverse workplaces too. With redacted resumes, structured interviews, and increased accountability around hiring, our users can make data-driven decisions—and see a significant increase in diverse representation. 

We know there’s still a long way to go, but we’re glad to be headed in the right direction. Read more about what we’re doing if you’d like to come along. And in the meantime, we hope you enjoy a relaxing and uplifting Juneteenth!


Scot is a successful HR technology entrepreneur and advocate for conscious inclusion. Passionate about helping others succeed, he’s committed to improving the hiring process for employers and job-seekers every step of the way.

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