Monday, June 20 is a public holiday in the US that Sophos is proud to observe. On Sunday June 19, the US recognizes Juneteenth, a 157-year-old holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans and celebrates African-American culture. Like many of our other cultural holidays, we are encouraging employees to use this day to further their knowledge and deepen their awareness.
Although the world is moving towards a more inclusive, equitable society, there are often events and circumstances that threaten that progress. Juneteenth is not only a celebration of freedom from centuries of enslavement but also a remembrance for those who were victims of oppression and discrimination.
Our Sophos Professionals of Color Network is sharing some background and history surrounding the annual event and offering some suggestions for how our employees can get involved, including:
- Information about life after slavery. The period after the end of slavery is called the reconstruction period. Although slavery was legally over, the brutalities of racism persisted.
- How state governments across the Southern US replaced Slave Codes with Black Codes, which attempted to economically disable freed enslaved people, forcing African Americans to continue to work on plantations and to remain subject to racial hierarchy within the Southern society.
- Information to understand generational trauma. Many things are passed down through families, like heirlooms, genetic conditions, and physical characteristics. In some cases, trauma can be inherited too and can extend from one generation to the next.
All Sophos employees are encouraged to use the power of empathy to acknowledge what this marginalized group – enslaved African Americans – went through, what their liberation meant for the country, and what that kind of progress means for us all.