Celebrate freedom!

It was only last year that Juneteenth became a federal holiday, and although official recognition may have been slow to come, we’re proud and excited to honor this important holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in the United States. Join us in the taproom on the public Juneteenth observation date, June 20th, from 4-6pm, as Director of Education from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Christopher Miller, will discuss the history and significance of Juneteenth. The event is free, but space is limited! Please RSVP at the link.

Juneteenth is significant in many ways to many people, but most importantly Black Americans. We recently spoke with some of our team members about what Juneteenth means to them. Read on to see their full responses. Happy Juneteenth!

Daria, HR Project Manager

In my perspective, the long overdue celebration of Juneteenth marks a significant time in our history where America is beginning to acknowledge that “Black Holidays” (which are historically significant to Black American freedom and liberation) are really, at their core, American Holidays; for all to appreciate and celebrate. This may seem small, but, by formally recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday similar to other holidays like July 4th, Labor Day, etc., Americans are encouraged to view one another as fellow citizens instead of “Us” and “Them.” Additionally, the value of celebrating the legitimacy of ALL Americans truly being free (as opposed to only White Americans), means that we’re recognizing that all Americans deserve to have their demographic’s freedoms and historical landmarks honored & celebrated as we do for our White counterparts. Overall, the celebration of Juneteenth is a step in the right direction towards uniting our American citizens.

Darrin, Packaging Technician

As monumental as it is to make it a federal holiday, I hope we as a country do not dwell on the past of the meaning of the holiday from a racial perspective. If we do think back on the events in general, I hope we realize that the events in which we celebrate this federal history for are part of the foundation of this country’s development (national holidays, & most notable anthems). So let’s not reflect too much; we still have much work to do in this country. Juneteenth should reflect innovation, not just in society, but within the decision making of our nation which allowed for the events to take place.

Kay, Private Events Manager

Juneteenth is such an important day that I am so happy to see recognized and celebrated. For me, it marks the beginning of new opportunities — a fresh start, a chance to show forgiveness, and a bigger chance to show love and growth. There are three colors used to celebrate Juneteenth, red, black, and green. Each color has a unique meaning behind it. My favorite color to focus on is green, which means prosperity. Being a part of the African American community, and having a part in the change we wish to see in the world, is an honor. Juneteenth helps remind me of that honor, and I hope to pass it on to generations beyond me.

Gerald, Private Events Bar Lead

Juneteenth marks the beginning of a long road to equality, one that we are still striving for. Juneteenth gives me mixed feelings as a Black American — on one hand, I’m proud to see the country acknowledging what was long overdue. I’m also proud that we as a country can start to celebrate “Black holidays” as American holidays. To me, acknowledging our countries dark and racist history is a step in the right direction.  Too many times we choose to paint pretty pictures of history. While that might work for some, I feel like it does a greater disservice to those that suffered, and in the long run we run a greater risk of repeating that history, if we do not show the pain and suffering that occurred. On the other hand, Juneteenth was the beginning of a new wave of oppression that plagued black America and prohibited liberation for people of color for another 100-plus years. This new form of oppression was marked by Jim Crow laws, Black codes, segregation and social inequality that continues still to this day. My hope for Juneteenth is that it will spark more people, specifically White people, to think about our country’s dark history, while lighting a fire in those that aren’t educated on pre-Juneteenth or post-Juneteenth history, and ask themselves “how much has really changed?” and “what else do we need to do?” Or, even better, what else can YOU do?

Patrick, Sales Manager, Dayton (not pictured)

Juneteenth to me is both a day of celebration and reflection. It is a day to celebrate the ending of the horrible practice of slavery in our country. A day to celebrate the equality that all people should have. A celebration of the wonderful things African-American culture has given and will continue to give to the world as a whole. This day should also be about reflecting on our past and why we felt ok exploiting fellow humans and treating them as lesser beings. Reflection upon where this country was and where it has come in regards to how we treat each other. So many of these things should be part of our daily routine as humans but on this day in particular they should be of extra importance to all.