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Recognizing Juneteenth at Movable Ink

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While Juneteenth is recognized as a United States federal holiday, we cannot gloss over the importance of this historic day and what it means to Black America. Juneteenth is a 157-year-old holiday which celebrates the emancipation of African-Americans from slavery in the U.S.

Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19th, has gained prominence in recent years, as leaders and companies across the U.S. launched efforts to support Black people, following the widespread protests against systemic racism and police brutality. 

The commemoration of Juneteenth is a day of remembrance and an opportunity for African Americans to honor their history and celebrate Black culture. 

African-American historian and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. stated that, over generations, Juneteenth became “an occasion for gathering lost family members, measuring progress against freedom and inculcating rising generations with the values of self-improvement and racial uplift. This was accomplished through readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, religious sermons and spirituals, the preservation of slave food delicacies, as well as the incorporation of new games and traditions, from baseball to rodeos and, later, stock car races and overhead flights.” 

Today’s celebrations feature a mix of religious services, storytelling and celebrations of Black culture featuring food, music, and parades, with barbecue and red-colored food and drink being the focal point of the holiday. The crimson-red color is a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage. It also signifies strength in some West African cultures. 

Vanessa Patrick, a Movable Ink Senior Client Experience Manager and member of the Black Ink ERG, reflected on the holiday’s significance. 

“Juneteenth is important because it commemorates and honors the delayed process of freedom for Black people that were living in the United States in the late 1800s. It’s a day where we pause and remember the importance [and duty ]that we have to treat all people with dignity, honor and respect.”

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