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What is Juneteenth and how do we celebrate it?

Jun 17, 2022

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is short for June Nineteenth — more specifically — June 19, 1865, the day that the news reached all Americans, including the enslaved, that the Civil War had ended and they were free. Many people believe this is linked to the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but Juneteenth occurred almost 3 years after that.

Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday after President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021, however, Juneteenth is the longest-running African American holiday and has been widely celebrated as America’s second Independence Day long before it was made official.

How do I celebrate Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a day of recognition and celebration in America. Although the holiday occurs in June, we believe the essence of Juneteenth and the joy of Black art, culture, stories, and history should be practiced year-round. Here are a few ways we’ll be celebrating this year:

Listening to Black creators

Amplifying Black voices is one of the best ways to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. There are many Black creators and educators who host workshops and post content to their social channels in an effort to advocate for equality, shine a light on issues that disproportionately affect the Black community, and celebrate Black joy.

There are countless pages to follow but here are a few accounts to get you started:

Supporting Black-Owned businesses

Another instance of disproportionate inequity comes in the shape of Black-owned businesses. A lot of these companies have been overlooked in the wellness industry and this Juneteenth we’re putting a spotlight back on them.

Help these businesses thrive by following them on social media, shopping their products, and sharing them with friends not just on Juneteenth — but year-round. Find our list of 12 Black-Owned Businesses To Support Right Now for some incredible Black-owned beauty businesses you need to check out.

How Henkel, Alterna’s parent company is supporting Juneteenth

Although the Black community has been celebrating Juneteenth for decades, federal recognition of Juneteenth is an important reaffirmation of the American ideal of freedom for all. As we observe this milestone, it’s also important to look forward by envisioning a more equitable future.

Earlier this year, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we invited the young relatives of Henkel employees in the U.S. to participate in an art and essay contest where they were asked to illustrate and share their dreams for the future. Learning about the dreams of the next generation allows us to recognize the progress we’ve made as a society, but also inspires us to do more to create a society that they are proud to live in now — and for generations to come.

Supporting educational opportunities

As pioneers at heart for the good of generations, Henkel is committed to helping advance education for underserved communities through our partnership with organizations such as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). We are working with the UNCF to increase access to education for the next generations through our scholarship and internship programs.

Opportunities for Learning and Dialogue

Juneteenth is an opportunity to keep learning about Black history and culture and their impact on society and Henkel is holding the below events in observance of Juneteenth.

  1. Juneteenth and Social Justice Speaker: Reset, Respond and Reform: A Changing America through the Black American Lens
  2. Virtual Museum Tour of African American Artists

Committing to actionable steps

Being an ally means taking actionable steps towards reparations. Removing systems that are currently in place is not the responsibility of the Black community and relying solely on them to educate us is not it either.

Take time and alleviate the burden by reading and studying Black history (not just the one you learned in school), Black achievements, and uplifting Black voices. Juneteenth is all about celebrating but also remembering and reflecting. Use today as a way to springboard your curiosity about all the ways African Americans have and continue to enrich this nation.


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