Juneteenth 2021: Celebrating Liberation…Together

In the summer of 2020, following the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, our country saw a surge of anti-racism education and social justice activism. 

While the system in place remains broken for Black and marginalized communities, the sheer display of heightened awareness about how many of us contribute to the problem through unconscious biases and privilege is a small but necessary step in the right direction.

In light of these events, we formed a company committee dedicated to social justice, inclusivity, and anti-racism; we’re known as the Justice League.

…to define the action items Verblio can, and should, take to be actively anti-racist, amplify Black voices, reconstruct industry framework(s) and systems to be equitable and inclusive, and model for others how to effect positive change.

– from the Justice League’s mission statement

The next step in our company-wide efforts towards inclusivity and anti-racism was to observe Juneteenth (June 19th) as a company holiday in solidarity with our Black community.

Juneteenth day—also known as Freedom Day—marks the day in American history when slaves were liberated by federal decree. In 1865, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, all persons held as slaves were finally free.

This year, we celebrated the holiday as a company by dedicating the entire week to Black history education, guest speakers, donation matching, and community service.

The Celebration

We kicked off the week by sharing a cross-team collaboration design for our Juneteenth buttons featuring the colors red, green, black, and yellow.

In our #Juneteenth channel, we highlighted links to Black businesses, Black history educational videos and speeches, and volunteer opportunities for Black-led organizations.

On Tuesday, we invited Jamie Bennet, MBA, of The LifeStyle Group, to speak during our All-Hands company meeting. Jamie is a leadership coach for high achieving professionals and she gave a presentation on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. 

Our company welcomed Jamie by wearing Juneteenth colors (black, red, yellow, and green) to the meeting and a few even rocked some colorful face paint!

We’re a company that consists of prolific readers and writers, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lead a book club meeting dedicated to Juneteenth. On Wednesday, our company shared book recommendations from Black authors and we chatted all about our favorite Black-owned bookstores (both online and local). 

We made sure to only include the links to purchase the books from Black-owned bookstores, encouraging our Verblions to buy from Black businesses.

Thursday was our Donation Matching Day, and boy, did we make some noise! Through our Verblio matching program, any employee who donates to a social justice program fighting racism and oppression against Black people and marginalized communities will have their donation matched by the company. 

Our goal is always to encourage and motivate as many employees as we can to make donations and share their favorite organizations with the entire company.

On Matching Day, we surpassed last year’s donation amount and donated a total of $3,864 to organizations like: The Bail Project, Black Youth Project, Texas Civil Rights Project, Mother House, Equity Books, Curly Me!, United Way of Salt Lake, Kodak Cares, and Equal Justice Initiative. 

Our nifty donation tracker!

We closed out our Juneteenth week by making June 18, 2021 a day of service in celebration of Juneteenth! In our #Juneteenth channel, we shared virtual volunteer opportunities and social justice organizations in our Denver community, as well as in-person events for our vaccinated team members. 

These Verblions spent their Juneteenth Day of Service volunteering at Habitat for Humanity in Denver, CO.

We encouraged every team member to get out and use the day of Juneteenth to give back.

At Verblio, we are loud, proud, and welcoming.

Juneteenth Week 2021 was a great success, and we were absolutely thrilled with the enthusiastic participation from our Verblion team members! 

Our company core values consist of that same enthusiastic and vivacious energy that we bring to work every day and to the issues that matter most to us collectively and individually. And we work hard to promote and foster an inclusive work environment where all voices are heard.

Jessica Mendez

Long before Verblio, Jessica lived to surround herself with readers, writers, and fellow word-lovers. Although her career temporarily shifted as she got her master’s degree in human and family development, she found her way back when she started an online feminist publication with two awesome female writers. Today, as operations associate for the writing community of Verblio, Jessica gets to do what makes her truly happy. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys building jigsaw puzzles, eating Thai food, and finding new ways to justify buying just one more houseplant.

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