Ogury's Juneteenth Blog

The history of Juneteenth: Listen, learn and reflect

Jun 17, 2021

Alexandra Matthews

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Ogury’s diversity and inclusion committee, the Mosaic, has been formed to provide underrepresented groups with an equitable voice in Ogury and our community. We’re committed to empathetic listening, educating, holding each other accountable and executing actionable change to celebrate diversity and inclusion at every level.

With Saturday, June 19th marking the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, our employee-led group has drafted this blog to share information and resources on the holiday.

The history of Juneteenth

June 19, 1865, marks the date that Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of both the Civil War and slavery. But, woefully, this was almost two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. As much as Juneteenth represents freedom, it also represents how emancipation was tragically delayed for enslaved people in the deepest reaches of the Confederacy.

Texans first celebrated Juneteenth in 1866 with community-centric events, such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings and musical performances. On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth officially became a Texas state holiday. Al Edwards, a freshman state representative, put forward the bill, H.B. 1016, making Texas the first state to grant this emancipation celebration. 

Since then, 48 other states and the District of Columbia have also commemorated or recognized the day. Learn more about the history of Juneteenth and how it has become a worldwide celebration by visiting the official Juneteenth website.

How Ogury is observing Juneteenth

In recognition of Juneteenth, Ogury is showing support in various ways. We have declared it as a day of observance for our U.S. offices, which will be closed on Friday, June 18th. We encourage our team to add Juneteenth resources to their out-of-office note to educate our partners on the history of the holiday.

This year, we are also encouraging donations to the Marsha P Johnson Institute, which works to protect and defend the rights of black transgender people. We will also support this foundation by donating on behalf of Ogury. Additionally, we have been raising funds in support of Black Lives Matter since June 2020 via our GoFundMe page, and have raised over $9,200.

In addition to financial support, we have hosted events throughout the year to learn about individual experiences. We were fortunate to be able to welcome Daryl Davis live during our Stop N’ Listen speaker series. Daryl spoke with us about how he was determined to understand why he was hated for the color of his skin. His pursuit for answers brought him face-to-face with the leader of the KKK. Find out how one conversation can change history by watching the recording below.

Helpful resources

Whether you prefer reading, watching or listening, the Mosaic team have compiled a list of resources for you to continue learning about Juneteenth, black history and anti-racism activism.

Books

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Articles

Documentaries

  • 13th – Netflix 
  • I Am Not Your Negro – Netflix 
  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 – Amazon 
  • When They See Us – Netflix

The Mosaic strives to continue providing underrepresented groups with an equitable voice and continue integrating diversity and inclusion into Ogury’s business strategies, recruiting, development, client relationships and work methodologies.

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