Updated: Sep 12
Also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day, this holiday comes from combining "June" and "nineteenth," to recognize the historical events of June 19th, 1865, the day the last Black slaves were emancipated in Texas, ending American slavery. It was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, although it has been celebrated since 1866 in community gatherings. You can read more about the history here.
Reflecting on the past is more impactful when used to effect positive change in the future. As a small business owner and a small business patron, we invite you to commemorate Juneteenth in ways that lift and amplify the meaning of this important day, and also support and empower the Black community for the future. Freedom today and tomorrow hinge on the opportunities to build community and culture and create generational wealth through education, high-paying jobs, and/or financially sustainable small businesses.
Local small businesses are a powerful force for social change because they foster equitable economic environments for Black communities. So how can your business honor Juneteenth in ways that lift the story of Black America and empower it going forward?
1. Empower Financial Empowerment:
This is number one because knowledge is power. Advocate, host, and/or participate in educational events about personal and business financial literacy. In 2019, Black households had on average 14.5 percent of the wealth of white households, and while there are historical and systemic reasons for this, it makes it that much critical that Black families and businesses learn about the tools, practices, and knowledge that empower them to overcome systemic challenges and build long term wealth.
There are several local non-profit organizations focused on this very issue, including Branches, Operation HOPE, and Ten North Group (formerly OLCDC), that offer individualized coaching and group education on financial literacy, credit building, and homeownership. For small business financial literacy, you can reach out to Branches, Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce, SBDC at FIU and SBDC at FAU (depending on your county), SCORE Miami-Dade and SCORE Broward, and us at the Community Fund of North Miami Dade.
2. Showcase Black Excellence:
Use Juneteenth as an occasion to showcase the talents and achievements of Black individuals in your community, such as collaborating with local artists, designers, musicians, performers, and community organizations to host exhibitions, and events or feature their work in your store or online platforms. By amplifying Black voices and talents, you can inspire others and contribute to a more inclusive representation of success.
3. Support Black Entrepreneurs:
As a Black-owned business, you understand the challenges and obstacles faced by aspiring entrepreneurs. You can mentor an emerging Black entrepreneur to share your knowledge, experiences, and resources to help uplift the next generation of entrepreneurs.
As a Black and non-Black entrepreneur, you can collaborate with other local small Black-owned businesses this Juneteenth by:
· Highlighting the interconnectedness of the business community. For instance, if you run a restaurant, promote a Black-owned farming co-op from which you source your produce or the dessert that you source from your Black-owned vendor.
· Partnering with local small Black-owned businesses to offer specials. For example, if you run a deli, partner with a Black-owned bakery to sell their baked goods in-house on Juneteenth.
· Buying from Black-owned businesses. While it’s a good idea to buy from local small Black-owned businesses throughout the year, make a special effort to patronize Black-owned businesses on Juneteenth. Cater from Black-owned businesses for your summer event for example. Or, have a Black-owned company design your business’s t-shirts for your next day of service.
4. Collaborate with and support Community Organizations:
Partner with local organizations that align with the values and goals of Juneteenth, such as Ten North Group (formerly OLCDC), or support initiatives that promote social justice, education, economic empowerment as well as arts and culture within the Black community.
Juneteenth is a day of reflection, celebration, and progress. As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to honor the significance of this day and support the future of your local community. Make it count by educating, showcasing Black excellence, supporting emerging entrepreneurs, collaborating with community organizations, and promoting economic empowerment, to amplify the meaning of Juneteenth and contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous future. Let us work together to make Juneteenth a day of positive community impact.
 Source: Center for American Progress https://www.americanprogress.org/article/eliminating-black-white-wealth-gap-generational-challenge/.