Juneteenth: A day of reflection and action

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, freeing all slaves; however, it took two more years for the message to get to the Americans still enslaved in Galveston, Texas.  When the news finally arrived on horseback on June 19th, it marked the official end to a very troubling chapter of American history. More than 150 years later, the country is still struggling with systemic racism and injustice.

Over the years, efforts to address ethnic diversity in the workplace have met with varying levels of success.  The first official equal opportunity legislation was an executive order President Truman signed in 1948. The civil rights movement of the 1960s helped build momentum. Still, corporations have taken many decades to truly understand the value behind diversity initiatives based on cultural background or ethnicity. 

Today there are endless resources to help diverse businesses grow and thrive.  Through the associations listed below, companies can learn about getting certified as a diverse business and gaining access to a myriad of valuable tools and networks.

·  National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

·  Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

·  National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

·  United State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

·  Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APAAC)

·  Native American Chamber of Commerce (NACC)

·  The National Veterans Business Development Council (NVBDC)

Whether you are Black or a member of any other diverse community, celebrate Juneteenth by taking action and certify your business: The benefits are well worth the investment of time:

  • Gain access to motivated buyers.  Increasingly corporations have measurable targets for buying services from certified businesses.  Certification makes you visible to those motivated businesses.
  • Tap into a network of peers. Certification opens up an entire community of fellow small and diverse businesses. Other suppliers in the community may recommend you for a product or service they may not provide themselves.
  • Participate in exclusive certification programs. Take advantage of networking, development, or educational events targeted towards certified small and diverse businesses.  Virtual or in real life, these learning opportunities will enhance your skills and build your professional value.
  • Promote your business with certification advertising. A sentence as simple as “Proud to be a [enter certification agency here] member” carries a lot of weight.

Celebrate Juneteenth by getting certified and supporting a Black owned business in your community or online.