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Diversity and Equity Virtual Team Building

19+ Juneteenth Work Ideas and Virtual Events for 2022

By January 17, 2022January 13th, 2023No Comments
Juneteenth Virtual Events 2022

Looking for Juneteenth 2022 virtual events and Juneteenth work ideas? Thinking about how to honor Juneteenth 2022 through corporate team building? Many companies are planning ahead and scheduling their virtual experiences to honor and celebrate this holiday. In this list, you’ll find 19+ creative ideas for your team to learn about Juneteenth together.

A few of our favorite Juneteenth 2022 team building ideas:

Read on for details on these Juneteenth ideas and more!

  • Book an interactive virtual Juneteenth team building event
  • Host a Juneteenth lunch & learn
  • Support Black-owned businesses
  • Participate in virtual museum programming to learn about Juneteenth
  • Share Juneteenth quotes with your team

TLDR: In this guide, you’ll find:

  • Juneteenth work ideas
  • Juneteenth virtual events 2022
  • Remote team-building ideas to celebrate Juneteenth
  • Corporate Juneteenth virtual event ideas
  • COVID-safe group activities for Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

Also called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. In the U.S. and beyond, Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th each year. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But, the new law was not widely enforced in Texas.

Two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger and his federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas. He told the enslaved people that they were now free. He also shared the news that the Civil War was over.

The celebration of Juneteenth as a holiday began in Galveston, Texas in the 1860s. Now, many Americans honor this day throughout the country. It is a day of celebration and hope. And, it is also a day to pay honor and respect to the many people who suffered greatly under slavery.

As a result, it’s a good idea to aim for a balance between fun and seriousness in your Juneteenth virtual events.

Want to learn more? Explore the holiday’s history with this write-up from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Why Should Corporate Teams Honor Juneteenth?

With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, major companies around the United States made a push to formally recognize Juneteenth as a corporate paid holiday. This effort helps acknowledge the negative impact of systemic racism and their company’s mission to create inclusive and diverse atmospheres.

Here is just a sampling of the companies who now recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday:

  • Adobe
  • Allstate
  • Apple
  • Lyft
  • NFL
  • Nike
  • Peloton
  • Starbucks
  • Twitter

In addition to paid holidays, many companies offer Juneteenth work ideas for educational events. Since many people did not learn about the impact and history of Juneteenth and Juneteenth is not widely taught in schools, this list provides many options for companies to provide incredible and inclusive events during this important holiday.

In fact, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021, making it the first new federal holiday since MLK, Jr. Day in 1983. As a result, in 2022, providing virtual celebrations for Juneteenth will be more important than before. This can be a day to honor the history and significance of this important event in the United States. Check out all of our Juneteenth work ideas below.

19+ Juneteenth Work Ideas for 2022

Juneteenth work event

1. Book a Juneteenth Virtual Team Building Event – One of our Favorite Ideas for Juneteenth 2022!

This interactive Juneteenth Team Building experience, featured in Lonely Planet as one of the best ways to honor Juneteenth, is an approachable and engaging way to learn some of America’s most forgotten history. Your team will enjoy incredible treats from Black-owned businesses plus learn about the history of this important holiday and why barbecue has been a celebration food through history.

Additionally, your team will hear from two on-location guides in Hampton, Virginia, and Austin, Texas. Preferred by companies like Coca-Cola, this is NOT a lecture, but a truly interactive experience that engages everyone. We like this option, too, because it’s interactive rather than listening to a lecture.

Ready to book your virtual Juneteenth Team Building in a Box experience? Learn more and sign up!

2. Make Juneteenth a Paid Corporate Holiday

More and more companies are making Juneteenth a paid holiday for their employees. Some organizations that have made this move include Target, Nike, Adobe, Twitter, Square, the National Football League, and Harvard. Taking the day off allows your team to pause and reflect on the holiday’s meaning.

You could encourage employees to spend the day learning about social justice issues and Civil Rights. To make a deeper impact, provide employees with a copy-and-paste out of office message that shares about Juneteenth’s history and significance. This is a great way to share knowledge while showing the company’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality.

See other Juneteenth work ideas with this USA Today article: These Companies are Giving Juneteenth Off to their Employees.

3. Host a Creative Juneteenth Brainstorming Session

For marketing and creative teams, host a brainstorming session on the topic of Juneteenth social media and marketing content. For example: what types of posts will your company share in anticipation of Juneteenth? Will you publicize your company’s efforts to recognize this holiday?

Planning your efforts ahead of time can result in additional learning and dialogue for everyone on your team. Additionally, you can find creative ways to educate and engage your social media audience on this important topic.

For example, your Juneteenth images could be themed around Juneteenth colors (red, black, and green) or feature the Juneteenth flag. You might decide to share Juneteenth quotes or traditions. Or, try some interactive polls to test your audience’s knowledge and share facts about Juneteenth’s history.

Juneteenth Match Employee Donations

4. Match Employees’ Donations to Social Justice Focused Nonprofits – One of Our Favorite Juneteenth 2022 Work Ideas!

During the month of June (or all year round), consider matching your employees’ donations to nonprofits focused on social justice and Civil Rights. To stick within a budget, you can set a dollar limit per employee for your company’s matching gifts. Starting a matching gifts program is a great way to inspire employees to support others while also demonstrating your company’s values. Plus, a matching gift program can help your company attract and retain employees.

Not sure how to start a corporate matching gift program? Download the complete guide to gift matching from charity.org. It walks employers through each step.

5. Share Juneteenth Quotes with Your Team

A great quotation has the power to inspire, educate, and enlighten your team. This Juneteenth, shine a light on Black voices by sharing meaningful Juneteenth quotes. Try sharing one quote with your team each day during the month of June, or during the week of Juneteenth.

To encourage a dialogue, share quotes with your team via a Slack channel or other chat app. Or, add Juneteenth quotes to an internal newsletter or update email.

Get started with Parade’s list of 50 Quotes to Better Understand Juneteenth.

6. Watch a Juneteenth Movie Together – One of Our Favorite Juneteenth Work Ideas for 2022!

For a rich team building experience that encourages discussion, try watching a Juneteenth video with your team and discussing it on a video call.

A few of our favorite educational Juneteenth videos:

Note: while the sentiment behind Juneteenth is ultimately uplifting, the imagery and experiences shared in some videos can be harrowing and difficult to process. Be sure to make this event optional, and allow participants to go “camera off” or leave the meeting if needed. 

Virtual Lunch & Learn

7. Host a Virtual Juneteenth Lunch & Learn

Set up a video call for employees to virtually gather together on Juneteenth for learning and camaraderie. To prepare, a week or two before the meeting, assign each person a question to research. For example:

  • How did Juneteenth begin?
  • Why is Juneteenth important?
  • How many states officially recognize Juneteenth?
  • Which states do not recognize Juneteenth? 
  • What was General Order Number 3?
  • What are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth?

On the video call, everyone can take turns sharing what they learned during their research session. As a result, everyone has a chance to speak and share knowledge. You can guide the session so that it flows like a conversation rather than a structured Q&A session. However, if you are going to select this option, we recommend that you pre-vet the information to be provided so that teams feel comfortable with all of the information being communicated.

Ready to organize a Juneteenth virtual lunch and learn? Visit juneteenth.com for resources and information about the holiday. 

8. Learn the History of Juneteenth Food & Host a Virtual Potluck

Did you know that Juneteenth has traditional foods associated with the holiday? Many foods associated with Juneteenth are portable, easy to travel with, and long-lasting.

Typically, a Juneteenth meal will also include red items such as hibiscus tea, red velvet cake, or strawberries. Red foods represent the blood that was spilled during slavery’s brutal history. The color red also holds spiritual and cultural significance in many African communities.

To explore Juneteenth food virtually with your team, ask each person to try their hand at making a dish. Then, gather everyone together on a video call for a virtual potluck! Everyone can show off what they created and share their research on the dish’s history.

Examples of foods are associated with Juneteenth:

  • Barbecue and fried chicken
  • Sides like okra, collard greens, cornbread, and mac & cheese
  • Pound cake
  • Red drinks, like hibiscus tea or red Kool-Aid
  • Red foods like watermelon, strawberries, and red velvet cake

Get started with this video: Try These Foods at Your Juneteenth Celebration (Inside Edition, 5 minutes). For more ideas, browse Oprah’s guide to traditional Juneteenth foods.

9. Participate in a Juneteenth Volunteer Project

One impactful Juneteenth idea is to make Juneteenth a company-wide volunteer day. For remote teams in the same city, consider organizing a group volunteer activity with a nonprofit in your area. For teams spread across the globe, you can provide everyone with a paid day off to volunteer in their community.

While any volunteer project will help your team feel more connected to their community, consider seeking out organizations that are BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and/or organizations that empower and serve BIPOC people.

Take the day off – or take the day on! Find a Juneteenth volunteering opportunity with a nonprofit in your area at VolunteerMatch.org.

Virtual Book Club

10. Start a Virtual Juneteenth Book Club for Employees – One of Our Favorite Ideas for Juneteenth 2022!

This idea is perfect for employees who want to engage with Juneteenth learning on a deeper level. Consider organizing a virtual Juneteenth book club. To begin, create a SurveyMonkey poll. Everyone can vote on which book they’d like to read and when they’re free to meet.

Then, order copies of the book for everyone and have them shipped directly to each person. Finally, during the month of June, you can have weekly virtual book club meetings for everyone to share their thoughts on the selected book.

When leading the meeting, it’s a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions for the group. That’s because creating an open dialogue helps build connections at work. So, it’s important to be sure that everyone in the group has a chance to share their thoughts and each person’s voice is heard. To start, here are some great questions that work well with any book choice.

  • What was the most memorable part of this book for you?
  • Did this book make you reconsider anything in your life, or in our society? In what ways?
  • What are you still curious about after reading this book?

Find a book for your team to read with Penguin RandomHouse’s Juneteenth Reading List. In this list, you’ll discover plenty of nonfiction and fiction page-turners related to the holiday.

11. Sponsor a Trip to Your Employees’ Local Museum – One of Our Favorite Ideas for Juneteenth 2022!

If your team is remote, you might not be able to visit a museum exhibit in person for Juneteenth. But, you can observe the holiday by encouraging your team to visit their local African American history museum! Offer reimbursement to each employee for a museum visit – and maybe even a lunch out!

The goal behind this idea is to help your team explore new ideas and learn about important history, in a way that feels participatory and allows them to break free from a screen. At the same time, your employees may benefit from a debrief session afterward. Everyone can share their experience and what they learned. You can even share screens to present photos or video from your visits, making these a week of Juneteenth virtual events.

Find a museum near you with this guide to African American museums in the United States and Canada.

12. Attend the Juneteenth Music Festival – A Great Juneteenth Virtual Event!

Join one of the U.S.’s largest Juneteenth celebrations! The Juneteenth Music Festival is an annual tradition in Denver, CO. Last year, the festival’s events were also broadcast live virtually. Programs included musical performances, community discussions, a parade, Black Pride events, and a two-day street festival.

Plans for 2022 are still TBA – but we’re crossing our fingers for a robust virtual lineup of events once again! Tune in with your team to enjoy the music and celebrations together.

Learn more at the Juneteenth Music Festival website.

Black Lives Matter T-Shirt Juneteenth 2022

13. Gift Employees Juneteenth & Black Pride Swag

Gift your employees something that will help them demonstrate their Black pride or allyship. This idea works well in combination with other activities on this list. For instance, you could plan a Juneteenth volunteer day and encourage everyone to wear their t-shirt.

A few of our favorite gift ideas from Black-Owned Shops:

Find more ideas with Good Housekeeping’s list of 60+ Black-Owned Businesses to Shop Now and Forever.

14. Support Black-Owned Businesses Year-Round One of Our Favorite Ideas for Juneteenth 2022!

Consider treating employees while also supporting a black-owned business. For example, when birthdays and work anniversaries roll around, gift employees something special from a black-owned business. For a creative employee gift or swag item, browse Etsy’s Black-Owned Shops. You’ll find stylish masks, stationery, planters, and even cookies!

Or, visit eatblackowned.com, the internet’s largest directory of Black-owned restaurants. Find a restaurant near you, share the menu with your team, and let everyone pick the lunch they’d like delivered to them.

Want to support multiple Black-owned businesses at once while also treating your team? Then order a gift box featuring delicious food items and other treats from BIPOC-owned businesses! 

15. Host Family-Friendly Juneteenth Virtual Events

One of the benefits of remote work is the feeling of connectedness that comes from catching a glimpse of your team’s home life. In fact, you might be used to pets and children occasionally hopping into camera frame to say hello!

While in-office teams might host a company picnic or potluck to get to know everyone’s families, consider hosting a virtual story time for your employees and their little ones. The New York Public Library offers a fantastic video catalogue of Juneteenth Story Time videos featuring books for children and young adults.

Browse the New York Public Library’s Juneteenth Story Time videos.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

16. Participate in Juneteenth Virtual Events with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC)

The NMAAHC has offered virtual Juneteenth programming each year with lectures from influential speakers. Details for the museum’s upcoming 2022 Juneteenth programs are yet to be confirmed. But, the day is likely to once again include a variety of virtual programs. The museum’s programming last year included free all-day virtual presentations, stories, songs, workshops, and more.

Once details are shared, your team can make plans to tune in virtually together. Keep an eye on the museum’s virtual lectures and events year-round, too.

Eager to dig into the museum’s virtual programs? Explore the NMAAHC’s Curator Chat video archives. You’ll hear from the museum’s curators as they explain important moments in African American history. You can even virtually tour an exhibit.

17. Listen to a Juneteenth Podcast & Discuss – One of Our Favorite Juneteenth Work Ideas for 2022!

Listening to a podcast is a great way to learn something new while you’re cleaning, exercising, driving, or relaxing around the house. Try listening to a podcast episode about Juneteenth with your team – then discuss it together!

Offer flexibility by encouraging your team to listen to the selected podcast episode any time during the week of Juneteenth. Then, schedule a time for everyone to hop on a video call and discuss. Or, you can make this an active, ongoing Slack conversation throughout the week and allow everyone to chime in as their schedules allow.

One of our favorite Juneteenth podcast episodes? The Juneteenth Mixtape, from “Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi” (26 minutes).

18. Plan a Juneteenth Trivia Session

After learning about Juneteenth together, plan a Juneteenth trivia session to test your team’s knowledge! You can create your own list of trivia questions or find one online. Some ideas for trivia questions include:

  • When is Juneteenth celebrated? June 19.
  • When did Juneteenth become a federal holiday? June 17, 2021
  • What is another name for Juneteenth? Emancipation Day
  • When did Abraham Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation? January 1, 1863
  • When were enslaved people in Texas finally freed? June 19, 1865

Use a service like Kahoot to set up your team trivia game and learn with your team.

Celebrate Juneteenth All Year

19. Carry the Significance of Juneteenth With You All Year

Like Black History Month, Juneteenth can and should spark larger, year-round conversation at your company. Juneteenth is a perfect time to review your organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, pay and hiring practices, and leadership diversity.

As we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s important to remember that the fight for equality continues. We are inspired to see more organizations adding their voices to this movement and honoring the spirit of Juneteenth.

Strengthen your diversity and inclusion efforts with our guide: 16+ Ideas to Foster Diversity & Inclusivity for Remote Teams.

Wishing you and your team a meaningful Juneteenth experience!