15 Great Juneteenth Ideas for Work

Team Building Resources
Team Building Resources April 04, 2023 15 Great Juneteenth Ideas for Work

Here is our list of the best Juneteenth ideas for work.

Juneteenth is an important day commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth ideas for work are activities and events celebrating Black heritage while boosting employee engagement. Examples include office art displays, trivia games, and lunch-and-learn sessions. The purpose of these activities is to bring employees together to recognize the importance of Juneteenth.

These ideas are similar to team social ideas, online diversity and inclusion activities, and networking event ideas.

This list includes:

  • Juneteenth event ideas for work
  • ways to celebrate Juneteenth at work
  • Juneteenth activities for employees
  • Juneteenth games for groups

Let’s get started!

List of Juneteenth ideas for work

From trivia games to potluck barbeques, here are our top ways to celebrate Juneteenth in the office.

1. “Did you know” social media campaign

One of the most insightful Juneteenth ideas is a social media campaign. We suggest using a “Did you know” theme that teaches followers fun facts about the historical holiday.

Here are a few facts about Juneteenth to use in your campaign:

  • Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the US.
  • There are books written about Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison, Carolyn Meyer, and Ann Rinaldi.
  • The Juneteenth flag is half red and half blue with a white star in the middle.
  • Other names for Juneteenth are Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day.
  • On June 17, 2021, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday.
  • Juneteenth celebrations often include street fairs, cookouts, and family reunions.

Along with each fact that you share, we recommend including a meaningful photo. For example, you can share historical images from the 1900s and present-day pictures of your employees celebrating the day.

A social media campaign is a great idea that can educate your followers on the history of Juneteenth.

2. Office art display

Creating an office art display is one of the most creative ways to celebrate Juneteenth at work. To assemble your collection, purchase framed art prints by Black artists online. You can search for art prints online on Etsy. Alternatively, you can invite artists in your area to come to your office and display their artwork. Then, show the pieces in your lobby, meeting rooms, and hallways.

Creating an office art display is a great way to honor Juneteenth while supporting Black artists. Plus, your display can motivate and inspire employees throughout the workday.

3. Wall of quotes

Juneteenth is a great time to share important and inspiring quotes with teammates. To create a quotes wall, hang up a whiteboard in your office. Then, invite team members to use a dry-erase marker to write their quotes on the board. Remember to encourage employees to choose a quote about Juneteenth or Black history.

Here are a few quotes to share with teammates:

  • “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.” — Barack Obama
  • “Today on Juneteenth, the day we celebrate the end of slavery, the day we memorialize those who offered us hope for the future and the day when we renew our commitment to the struggle for freedom.” — Angela Davis
  • “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” — Toni Morrison
  • “What I love about #Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.” — Michelle Obama
  • “Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of US history is taught from one book. Just US history.” — Maya Angelou
  • “If there is just about anything to rejoice it can be my ancestors, African People who survived the atrocity and stain of slavery… I honor them these days with a guarantee that I will keep on to combat for your unexplored desires and hopes.” — Viola Davis

We recommend leaving quotes on your whiteboard for at least one week so employees can remember the significance of Juneteenth.

4. Black-owned business gift box

Gift boxes are a great way to surprise employees on this holiday. We recommend putting together gift boxes with curated items from Black-owned vendors and businesses for Juneteenth.

Here are a few items to consider for your gift boxes:

Be sure to leave a gift box on each employee’s desk the night before the holiday. Then, employees will be surprised when they walk into the office in the morning.

5. Trivia game

If you are looking for Juneteenth games for groups, then we recommend playing Juneteenth trivia. To set up your game, come up with a list of 15 to 20 questions about Black history.

Here are a few Juneteenth trivia questions to get you started:

  • When is Juneteenth?
    • Answer: June 19
  • What is another name for Juneteenth?
    • Answer: Freedom Day or Emancipation Day
  • How many states commemorate Juneteenth?
    • Answer: 50
  • Which war prompted the end of slavery in the US?
    • Answer: Civil War
  • Which state was the first to celebrate Juneteenth?
    • Answer: Texas
  • In what year did Juneteenth officially become a federal holiday?
    • Answer: 2021
  • What are the colors of the Juneteenth flag?
    • Answer: Red, white, and blue
  • What symbol is on the Juneteenth flag?
    • Answer: A star

Be sure to designate one team member as the game’s moderator. The moderator must read each question and call on players to answer. As part of your game, give one point for each correct answer. At the end of the game, have players tally up their points. Remember to award a prize, such as a gift card to a local restaurant, to the winner.

6. Donation drive

If you are looking for an activity supporting a good cause, then we suggest holding a donation drive. During your donation drive, encourage employees to donate to charities and nonprofits that support civil rights and social justice causes.

Here are a few Black-led nonprofits to consider:

  • United Negro College Fund
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • NAACP Legal & Defense Fund
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • National Black Child Development Institute
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Color of Change

To take this initiative to the next level, offer to match employees’ donations up to a specific percentage. For example, your company can pledge to match up to five percent of every employee’s donation. A donation drive is one of the most impactful activities for Juneteenth.

7. Paid time off

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, and many companies honor this day by giving employees the day off. One of the best ways to celebrate Juneteenth at your company is by giving employees PTO to spend time with their friends and families.

Giving employees the day off allows them to leave their desks and choose how to celebrate. For example, some employees may celebrate with their families while others might spend the day resting and relaxing. Providing an extra day of PTO is one of the best perks that boost employee happiness and productivity, and is one of the most meaningful Juneteenth ideas.

8. Lunch and learn

One of the best educational Juneteenth ideas is a lunch and learn. A lunch and learn is a learning session during the lunch hour.

To organize your lunch-and-learn event for Juneteenth, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a date, time, and location.
  2. Inform attendees about your event.
  3. Find an instructor or presenter to lead your event.
  4. Gather employees in a conference room for the event.
  5. Have the instructor go through their lesson.
  6. Open the floor for a quick Q&A session.

When choosing an instructor, we recommend finding a historian or expert specializing in history. This presenter can lead a lesson on the history of Juneteenth and Black culture.

Ordering lunch from a local Black-owned catering company or restaurant is the perfect touch to your lunch-and-learn session. Ordering food will ensure that participants enjoy a tasty lunch as they learn about Juneteenth.

9. Movie night

Hosting a movie night is the perfect activity to bring your team together. We suggest watching movies with Black leads or documentaries focused on Black history.

Here are a few suggestions for your movie night:

  • Selma
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Malcolm X
  • 13th
  • Hidden Figures
  • The Help
  • The Color Purple
  • The Hate You Give

To host your movie night in the office, choose a spacious location to fit all team members. Then, set up a projector to show your film. Be sure to bring snacks, sweets, and beverages to enjoy during the movie. You can also prepare a list of discussion questions and topics to prompt conversations with team members following the film.

10. Lunch outing

Organizing a team lunch outing is a great way to break up the workday. We suggest searching your local area for a Black-owned restaurant. If you are not sure of any Black-owned restaurants in the area, then you can search online at Eat Black Owned, the world’s largest directory of Black-owned restaurants. We recommend choosing a restaurant within walking distance of your office so teammates can walk over together.

Taking your team on a lunch outing is a great way to celebrate Juneteenth while supporting Black-owned businesses in your area.

Check out Eat Black Owned.

11. Book club

If you are looking for an engaging and educational Juneteenth activity, then we recommend hosting a book club. Be sure to choose books written by Black authors. You can also focus on books that focus on Black history.

Here are a few book recommendations:

  • Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
  • On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

After choosing a book, give participants two to three weeks to read it. Then, regroup after the deadline for a lively discussion. Be sure to prepare a few discussion prompts. For example, you can ask participants which part of the book most impacted them while reading.

Hosting a Juneteenth book club is a great way to introduce team members to classic and contemporary Black authors while learning about the importance of Black history.

12. Guest speaker engagement

One of the most educational Juneteenth activities involves recruiting a guest speaker to enlighten team members on important topics related to Juneteenth. We recommend looking for a local historian or professor to come into your office and lead an informative lesson on topics like Black history and culture. Alternatively, you can also ask an employee to lead the session. For example, an ERG leader is a great guest speaker option if you have a Black employee resource group.

Hosting a guest speaker engagement is one of the most educational and engaging Juneteenth event ideas for work that employees will enjoy.

13. Potluck barbeque

Barbeques are a staple of the summertime, so we recommend celebrating Juneteenth by hosting a potluck barbeque. To organize this event, choose an outdoor location where team members can meet. For instance, you can host your barbeque in the office parking lot or at a local park.

Remember to ask employees to bring a homemade meal to the cook-off. Participants can cook or bake their dishes at home and present their finished products to the team during the barbeque. Be sure to encourage team members to bring a mix of food, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If you have a few team members who do not enjoy cooking, then you can ask them to bring paper plates, utensils, and drinks.

During the barbeque, have one or a few team members volunteer to run a grill. You could provide simple food like hot dogs and burgers or more complex meals like ribs or brisket.

For the potluck, fill a table with team members’ homemade dishes. Then, invite employees to vote on the tastiest dish anonymously. Once all votes are in, declare the winner. You can award the winner with a new barbeque set or another cooking-related prize.

Hosting a potluck barbeque is a great way to bring employees together for a delicious meal and friendly competition.

14. Reflection circle

One of the most engaging Juneteenth activities for employees is a reflection circle. During this activity, participants sit down to share their reflections on Juneteenth.

Here are a few steps to organize your reflection circle:

  1. Choose a common area in your office.
  2. Arrange chairs in a circle.
  3. Invite employees to sit in the circle.
  4. Open the floor for a lively discussion.
  5. Invite participants to share their thoughts and reflections on Juneteenth.

For example, employees might share their appreciation for learning about the significance of Juneteenth and gaining a better understanding of the experiences of African Americans throughout history.

15. Workplace decor

Creating a celebratory atmosphere is one of the best ways to celebrate Juneteenth at work. You can begin to set a festive environment by decorating your office. We suggest choosing decor that matches Juneteenth’s traditional colors.

Here is the significance behind each Juneteenth color:

  • Red symbolizes the blood of the millions of enslaved Africans in the US.
  • Black represents the rich Black culture and African diaspora unification.
  • Green stands for fertility, hope, new life, productivity, independence, and prosperity.

Alternatively, you can also use the Juneteenth flag colors in your decor. The Juneteenth flag colors are blue, red, and white. Be sure to incorporate these colors in festive decorations like streamers, banners, and balloons.

Conclusion

Juneteenth is an important day in history that marks the end of slavery in the US. Some employees may not know what Juneteenth is, so celebrating in the office is a great way to educate your team about the holiday. Activities like lunch and learns, social media campaigns, and book clubs are ideal educational experiences for team members to enjoy together.

Juneteenth is the perfect time to celebrate Black culture while learning about the historical significance behind the holiday. Planning special Juneteenth ideas for work shows employees that you care about the meaning behind the holiday. Plus, celebrating in the office is a great way to boost employee engagement while strengthening diversity and inclusion at your company.

Next, check out online celebration ideas and online event ideas.

FAQ: Juneteenth ideas for work

Here are answers to common questions about Juneteenth ideas for work.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth occurs on June 19 each year in the US. This holiday, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in June 1865. Juneteenth is important because, historically, it is the day that enslaved African Americans in Texas learned about their freedom, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

What are some good Juneteenth celebration ideas for the office?

The best Juneteenth celebration ideas for the office are activities that allow participants to learn about the history behind the holiday. For example, hosting a lunch-and-learn session, inviting a guest speaker, and watching documentaries are great ways to educate employees on the importance of Juneteenth.

How do you celebrate Juneteenth at work?

There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth in the office. To begin your celebration, choose a few activities, events, and games your team will enjoy. For instance, you can organize a team barbeque, a Juneteenth trivia quiz, or a reflection circle. Next, schedule a specific time and place for each event. Remember to inform team members about the events you plan to host in the office. Giving employees a heads-up allows them to plan accordingly so they can participate in each activity.

written with 💖 by Tasia Duske

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