This year, 2022, is the first year we recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday at Softdocs. Juneteenth is not just a part of Black history; it is a part of the United States of America’s history. Juneteenth, also known as “Jubilee Day,” is traditionally celebrated on June 19th, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the last group of enslaved Black Americans were freed by Union troops. Though we recognize the holiday on June 19th, we feel it is just as important that we focus on the daily practices that rectify the impact that created the reason for us to celebrate Juneteenth in the first place.
For some, rectifying the impact through watching a TEDx talk by Ibram X Kendi to getting “in good trouble, necessary trouble” to awaken the soul, our soul, of America as John Lewis would echo. When we voluntarily choose to engage in this holiday, it reminds us that equity and justice for Black Americans and underrepresented individuals is a marathon as for some, breathing seems effortless and with others they may be gasping for air to finish the race. In fact, it was just one year ago that Congress signed to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday – 157 years after it was first declared a holiday in 1865.
Aligning to our value of Inclusivity means fully committing to our company’s diversity and equity efforts. As we focus on our recruiting internally, we have taken a deeper look at where we source for talent, ensure equal pay across under-presented groups, and role advancement for self-identifying professionals of color. While it takes time to shift a company’s headcount and career pathing, what does not take much time at all is recognizing that we can constantly improve in how we democratize equity and provide a connection to opportunities within Softdocs. Some of these initiatives include intentionally looking at graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), participation in racial identity-based organizations like Blacks in Technology, reading Just Work by Kim Scott in our Culture Club, and participation in Oyster Bridges, a virtual job fair for under-represented remote workers and job seekers. These actions are very simple and people-first starts to meet talent and expose them to our company.
Providing Juneteenth as a paid day of leave gives our team the opportunity to spend the day in a way that is most healing and purposeful for them. We have encouraged our team, who may not need space to feel the impacts of this day, to use this day to advance their knowledge and deepen their awareness by sharing several resources like these below.
The Celebration of Juneteenth – Medium article with an overview on Juneteenth
Honoring Juneteenth with Ibram X. Kendi – Vox podcast led by scholar Ibram X. Kendi discussing how we can work to enact change
12 Top Destinations to Visit to Celebrate Juneteenth – U.S. News article highlighting Juneteenth themed music festivals, parades, marches, and other festivities across the USA
Racism Resources and How to be a Better Ally – Antiracist Allyship Starter Guide
Celebrating Juneteenth is a voluntary opportunity to activate equity muscles and learn how we as a nation can play our part in democratizing equity for current and future generations within and outside the United States of America. In our pursuit to lead by example and learn how to elevate Black independence, identity, and empowerment at Softdocs, we seek to have ongoing conversations and engage with others.
Contributions to content and educational resources provided by Christian Morales, Talent Coordinator.