Marching forward and celebrating Juneteenth, together We need to make sure our elected representatives, as well as the people who lead our organizations, hear what we have to say. And then, we need to make sure they act on those words. Just like President Lincoln did.



On June 19, 1865, U.S. federal troops took control of the state of Texas to guarantee the freedom of enslaved people. Sadly, this came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Even though President Lincoln had already declared all enslaved people “shall be forever free,” the reality was that some southern states weren’t obeying that law. President Lincoln had to send troops to ensure everyone knew that slavery was over.

Proclamations are great, but sometimes, you need to back your words with action.

Since then, Juneteenth — short for June nineteenth — has been a celebration of that day. In fact, many consider it to be the longest-running African American holiday. It’s a day that emphasizes both education and achievement.

What I love about Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.

– Michelle Obama

A pivotal moment

We are experiencing what future generations will likely remember as a pivotal moment in the history of our nation. As the country becomes more multiracial, we all need to find our voices — as people of color and as allies. We also need to make sure our elected representatives, as well as the people who lead our organizations, hear what we have to say.

And then, we need to make sure they act on those words. Just like President Lincoln did.

That’s what Juneteenth is all about.

So I’m proud to announce that, led by the efforts of our Multicultural Employee Resource Group, Hyland is honoring and celebrating Juneteenth with the education and engagement the holiday is known for. That’s why I’d like to highlight two events we’re co-sponsoring with local artists.

  • Freedom on Juneteenth: Presented by Karamu House

On Friday, June 18, Hyland will host a virtual screening of Freedom on Juneteenth, an original theatrical production by Karamu House featuring music, dance, and spoken word.

Founded in 1915, Karamu House is a place of joyful gathering (the meaning of ‘karamu’ in Swahili), where people from different races, religions, and economic backgrounds come together through the arts. Recognized as the oldest African American theatre in the nation, Karamu House is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Karamu House created Freedom on Juneteenth to celebrate, educate, and activate communities. If you’re not a Hylander, you can stream the powerful video on YouTube, Fire TV, Roku, or Vimeo.

  • Peel Dem Layers Back with Archie Green

We’re also proud to announce that on June 21, we’ll be hosting Archie Green as he presents dialogues on mental illness with Peel Dem Layers Back, a hip-hop centered workshop that promotes mental health awareness. Afterward, he will discuss his experiences with bias in the workplace, and how to successfully work through it.

Green, whose career has flourished over 20 years, recently made history after becoming the first rapper to perform at the world-renowned Severance Hall, home to the Cleveland Orchestra. The performance served as a summer-long partnership with Lexington-Bell Community Center and engaged Cleveland-area youth by incorporating music and writing instruction to address areas of mental health. It also helped bridge the gap for diversity, equity, and inclusion in arts and culture in Cleveland.

If you’re not a Hyland employee, but are interested in Green’s message, check out this short video.

We must do more

Diversity, equity, and inclusion aren’t buzzwords. They’re also not finish lines.

But together, they serve as a guide for communities and organizations as the world evolves.

“The crisis that is playing out in cities across the U.S. is the outgrowth of exhausted frustration caused by generations of racial injustice and inequality across our communities,” said Bill Priemer, president and CEO of Hyland. “Issues of race, of poverty, of unemployment, of politics, and so much more are dividing us. We can do better. We must do better. We must do more.”

While these two events serve only as a glimpse into our celebration of Juneteenth, our hope is that they help inspire us all to do more. This Saturday, the world will celebrate what the National Museum of African American History and Culture calls our country’s second Independence Day, even though it remains largely unknown to most Americans.

Together, we can change that.

Fred Johnson

Fred Johnson is a project manager on the R&D Transformation team at Hyland. He joined Hyland in 2016 and since then, has worked hard to deliver results for our customers.... read more about: Fred Johnson

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