Juneteenth is observed annually on June 19 and also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It marks the day in 1865 when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that they were free from the institution of slavery – nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
It signifies a time to reflect on our country’s history and recognize how far we still have to go. It’s a reminder of the resilience and strength of the Black community and of our individual ability and responsibility to do better through listening, learning, engaging in solidarity and taking action with our colleagues, friends and communities.
Last year, OneDigital formed the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Steering Council, a team of diverse leaders from across the country, to identify ways to be more intentional in our DE&I efforts and make meaningful change. As a result of this committee, we’ve introduced targeted learning opportunities focused on self-awareness and identity, bias, racial literacy, empathy, creativity, collaboration, and innovation to help both employees and leaders. This includes unconscious bias training, diversity and sensitivity workshop for senior leadership in partnership with WMAFDP, and structured interview and team-based hiring practices that minimize bias.
Fifty percent of funds raised during the OneDigital DASH 5k, a national fundraising event, were committed to diversity, equity and inclusion-focused organizations, including Hands on Atlanta, The Relatives, Gideon's Army, the HBCU Foundation, Equal Justice Initiative and others, resulting in $175,000 going directly to fighting racism and inequity.
If there’s anything we can learn from reflecting on this day, it’s the importance of never giving up hope during challenging times and to do everything we can to make lasting change. As we stand together with the Black community against racism, intolerance and hate, we are reminded that while speaking out is an integral part of this process, words without action are not enough.
We encourage you to donate to one of the countless organizations fighting for meaningful change – by no means an exhaustive list; are a few we’re highlighting today:
- NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Dr. Maya Angelou Foundation
- The Marsha P. Johnson Institute
- Black AIDS Institute
- Center For Black Equity