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June 19, 2024


It is an early summer afternoon. The grill is sizzling, sending aromas of meat, sauces, and spices into the air, complementing the sounds of funk and Motown. Grandmothers and aunties dance with babies. Mothers are at picnic tables, talking and preparing the feast. Dads and uncles’ man the grills, while cousins play games in the field. At the word of the elders, everyone stops what they are doing and gathers for prayer. Afterward, mothers serve meals to the elders and the children before everyone else gets their plate.

It is Juneteenth. Black American families in the South, as well as those who migrated to the West and North, have commemorated this day throughout history with family and community gatherings that consisted of parades, food, dancing, and fun.

Juneteenth Flag

With its recognition as an official holiday in 2021, Juneteenth provided a sense of hope, leading to feelings of increased optimism that our world has progressed and become more tolerant. It was an acknowledgement of Black Americans’ unique experience- being descendants of Emancipated people who were once considered property and whose bodies were the literal currency that built the greatest economy in modern time. 

However, years after the holiday’s federal recognition, a dark cloud hovers over events held across the country. Unfortunately, many planners and businesses continue to inaccurately repurpose Kwanzaa, reggae, and other themes to decorate their Juneteenth events. While these graphics are beautiful and full of meaning, they’re lacking when it comes to appropriately featuring the holiday. Juneteenth is a celebration of when Black Americans were emancipated - specifically when Black Americans in Galveston, Texas were able to acknowledge their emancipation in 1865 (two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed). While it is a day for all to participate in, it must be done in a way that is both accurate and respectful. It is essential that the imagery associated with Juneteenth accurately depict and reflect the experiences and contributions of Black Americans in American history.

The colors of Juneteenth are red, white, and blue- to denote that emancipated people are indeed Americans. You can see this exemplified perfectly in the Juneteenth flag that is red, white and blue and contains the following symbols: the star representing Texas and freedom, the burst symbolizing a new beginning, and the arc depicting a new horizon. In addition, other flags that are appropriate to fly for Juneteenth are the Black American Heritage Flag and the US Flag. All three flags were designed in part or wholly by Black Americans.

This year, 4G remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting and uplifting our employees. By embracing Juneteenth as an organization, we reaffirm our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Today is a reminder of how employees ought to be valued, supported, and empowered throughout this significant commemoration. After all, continuing to respect and celebrate the cultural heritages and contributions of our team is a key part of our company's values

As we prepare to celebrate Juneteenth this year, let us remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us in the fight for freedom and equality. Let us remember the very people who have been on this land long before the country existed, fought in every war, created over 50,000 inventions that improved our quality of life, and helped to create an economy whose wealth they were excluded from. Let us take a look in the mirror and be humbled by how far we have come and how much further we should go. Let us remember justice and let us always remember to do what is right.

Let us always remember!


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