As you no doubt have heard, Juneteenth has been designated as a new Federal Holiday to commemorate the day the last enslaved Black people learned that they were free. I wrote about its meaning last year (dot 2926) so this year I turn to consider the yet-to-be-understood implications of designating another Federal holiday.
I wonder what changes the official action will inspire. Will children (and adults!) learn more about the events surrounding this date since it is an official holiday? How will this new-day-off for millions impact future summer calendars? With only two weeks between Juneteenth and Independence Day, will that period become a collective holiday — full of vacations and downtime? Will mid-June now be favored — or avoided — for weddings and other celebrations as people seek to plan other events around what has become a holiday weekend? Will Juneteenth now spur on a host of new festivals and cultural events? How many other employers will add Juneteenth to their employee benefit plans, creating economic ripples throughout the country? Will the designation help tell America’s story to future generations? Such significant legislation spurs so many questions and possibilities!
Consider what Juneteenth could mean for your organization and plan now for how you can leverage or capitalize on the recognition it will receive next year to contribute your portion of the messaging beyond the inevitable holiday sales. Prepare to educate yourself and your team about why the date has significance and what lessons can be learned from it. Just as no one knew the impact of that day 156 years ago in Texas, neither do we know the ripple effect of commemorating Juneteenth as a Federal holiday. Don’t waste the window to do something new as a result of this action.