5 things to know about Juneteenth

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In the U.S., Juneteenth is an opportunity to reflect on history, learn from it and create an environment that supports and empowers Black communities.

Here are five things you may not know about Juneteenth:

  1. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when thousands of enslaved people in Texas were finally ordered free – nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery in the U.S.
  2. In 1979, Texas became the first state to officially recognize Juneteenth as a day of observance. The day was recognized nationally in 2021.
  3. Juneteenth celebrations include community gatherings, educational events, music and parades that take place across the country, with the longest history of celebrations taking place in Texas and other states in the Southwest and Midwest.
  4. The Juneteenth Flag of Freedom features a half red and half blue design with a white bursting star in the middle, representing freedom from slavery. Every year, a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony takes place in Galveston, where the news of emancipation was first delivered in Texas.

  5. Juneteenth has also been known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day and Independence Day. The first celebrations took place in Texas 1866, before spreading to other states.

“Juneteenth is a reminder that, no matter how difficult some days seem, our ancestors survived profoundly more difficult circumstances,” said Ayana Green, African American Business Resource Group (AABRG) member at UPS. “It’s a reaffirmation that I owe my ancestors my best every day, that I have a responsibility to pay it forward, and that there is no circumstance I cannot overcome.”

Ayana’s commitment to paying it forward is shared by more than 2,500 UPS employees who actively participate in our African American Business Resource Group.

Our AABRG honors the historical legacy of Juneteenth, but the day should really be a rallying call for all of us to think about the meaning of freedom,” said Taj Mustapha, AABRG member and global AABRG advisory team lead. “UPS has many events planned and we encourage all BRGs to use this day to reflect and give back to their local communities year-round.

Ongoing UPS support:

  • Over decades of consistent engagement, The UPS Foundation has donated almost $85 million to organizations focused on uplifting underfunded Black causes.
  • We’ve established longtime partnerships with organizations that promote racial justice, like the National Urban League and the NAACP, and we’ve formed newer partnerships with organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative.
  • We recently celebrated helping The UPS Foundation reach our goal of logging 1 million volunteer hours in support of underserved Black communities. Yes, one M-I-L-L-I-O-N!
  • In addition to committing volunteer hours, UPS supported legislation like the Federal Antilynching Act and state-based hate crime bills and committed substantial financial support to organizations and causes that uplift the Black community.

Find out how we’re driving a more equitable and inclusive future in our latest Social Impact Report.

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