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What Does Juneteenth Mean at OneDigital?

No matter your race, ethnicity, or background, Juneteenth is a time for celebration, reflection, and taking action.

Celebration & Reflection

Juneteenth is a time for celebration. In cities across the country, celebrations take place, often accompanied by parades, family gatherings, prayer and music festivals. We commemorate the ending of slavery through remembrance of a horrific era that never should have happened, but the true celebration is a recognition that freedom is not a gift to a few but a right for all. What we celebrate is Black strength and perseverance, Black achievement, and Black excellence. We celebrate a less divided people and a more united nation.

Juneteenth is also a time for reflection. It’s a time to reflect upon our shared American history, how far we’ve come as a nation, and yet how far we have to go. It’s also a time to reflect upon your own history.

I am very fortunate to know my history, and to have documentation of my lineage that traces back to the enslavers that once owned my family. My ancestors were enslaved by the Sleets of Mercer County, Kentucky. Like objects or things, they were passed down from generation to generation. Of the third generation were brothers Preston & Henry. They gained their freedom by joining the United States Colored Troops in 1864. After the Civil War, they founded Sleet Town, a freed-slave community that thrived in rural Kentucky from 1865 -1931. My father, of course, is my favorite Sleet family descendent, but perhaps the most popular (but unsung) is Moneta Sleet Jr., the first black photographer to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Learning about my family’s history has given me an immense sense of pride and drive. I encourage you to ask questions about your family’s history, no matter your background and no matter the story, as we must know the starting place and work hard to ensure that our lives serve as beauty in the ashes of their hardships.

Taking Action

Lastly, Juneteenth represents the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice, and is a time for taking action. We at OneDigital take action every day by relentlessly focusing on our culture of belonging. In honor of Juneteenth specifically, we have taken action by donating to two organizations – the National Black Child Development Institute and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

We invite you to join us in taking action by donating to one of these organizations or another of your choosing. You can also commit to taking action by attending a Juneteenth celebration with a friend, neighbor or family member, by engaging in dialogue, asking questions, and through intentional learning.

Though Juneteenth brings the heaviness of the past, it reminds us of the hope of today and serves as inspiration for the future. A future that ensures all people have access to equal opportunities, equitable liberties, and the pursuit of happiness.

Learn more about Juneteenth, its history and hear the actual voices of former enslaved people, visit the website: What is Juneteenth?