Recognition is good, but ” …we have bigger fish to fry than a Juneteenth barbecue.”
That was the core message I delivered live on CW33’s Morning After Show.
Some other critical points:
- Know the history. Juneteenth originated in Texas because the Union soldiers came to state to finally tell the slaves that they were free–2 whole years after the emancipation proclamation. It was a slap in the face, actually. The holiday is more of a commemoration than a celebration.
- Tone down the “Happy Juneteenth” greetings. Much like Memorial Day and even Cinco de Mayo, handle with care.
- Again, handle with care. Some federal workers suddenly received a memo or email that said, “You have the day off for Juneteenth,” and that was it. Be certain to provide programatic context. It’s important to communicate to everyone the nuances of this day.
- This isn’t a celebration of Black culture. Black culture drives Black culture (Nielsen 2017), so no one seems to have an issue with that. We need to address the issues that Black people face, from the workplace to the community. This is how we should view this holiday in that context. We still have a ways to go.
Listen, I am a Black Texan. I personally feel like someone with far more power just invited themselves to the picnic as a knee-jerk reaction to the murder of George Floyd, and it began last year with several large companies.
I’m a student of culture and a leadership coach. Now that we are all here…how will you treat this moment?
Take a look at the live interview, recorded earlier: