#HR Trends and Insights

Juneteenth: A day of reflection and celebration

June 16, 2023

The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Though the purpose of this order was to free all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states, it delayed the message of freedom for a full 29 months for states such as Texas.

But on June 19th, 1865 a Union General named Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce General Order No. 3. – an order that enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas and declared that all slaves in the state free.

That day is now celebrated as Juneteenth, and in 2021 was declared a Federal Holiday. The term “Juneteenth” is a combination of “June” and “nineteenth,” reflecting the date of this historic event.

Celebrating Juneteenth across the United States

Original celebrations of the day involved private family gatherings, prayer, and togetherness.

Today, while most celebrations remain familial, beyond cooking and celebration, the day also focuses on educating younger children on the importance of the day and the experiences of their elders and ancestors – it’s a day of hope, reflection, and joy.

Cities like Atlanta, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Tulsa, and Galveston (where the proclamation of General Order No. 3 was made) hold parades, music festivals, and events showcasing African American businesses and creators.

Can Juneteenth be observed by everyone?

The answer is “absolutely.” It is a time where every American can reflect on the experiences of African American people.


The best way to do this is through self-education by visiting a local museum observing Juneteenth, or a museum that focuses on African American History, Art, and Culture.

If you live in a city like Atlanta, you could visit the National City for Civil and Human Rights. Other examples are, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC; the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York; the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago; and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

If you’re looking for something more local, a simple Google search will set you on your way! There is no better way to support your fellow Americans than by learning of their experience.

Supporting African American art and business

Whether you’re inclined to view art, invest in art, listen to music, find a new and fun product, or simply eat great food, your choices are endless when it comes to supporting African American businesses. Putting in the effort to identify African American-owned brands and businesses with products or services you need or want is a respectful way to observe and celebrate the freedom and equality Juneteenth represents.

Taking public transportation to and from celebrations

At Edenred, promoting the use of public transportation is paramount. We help individuals and businesses save money on taxes each year by offering commuter benefits.

So, of course this year, to reduce traffic congestion on Juneteenth, we encourage you to use the bus, train, or other public transit to and from events, museums, and family homes as you celebrate or observe this excellent day.

When you get back to the office, if you’d like to know how to start offering commuter benefits, schedule a meeting with us to learn more. We wish you joy on this Juneteenth!

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