Juneteenth: A Time for Celebration and Reflection

Juneteenth is an important landmark in not just Black history but American history. 

While the United States gained independence from British rule in 1776, the chattel slavery of Black Americans continued for another 90 years. “Freedom” was eventually granted to Black Americans, but only after 246 years that saw approximately 600,000 kidnapped Africans brought to the States to build the foundation for the country we know today. 

I use the word freedom loosely because Black Americans continue to have a troubled relationship with the only homeland that many of us have ever known. From the empty promises of “40 acres and a mule,” Jim Crow, and segregation in the south to ethnic isolation in the form of ghettos in the north, the civil rights movement, housing discrimination, and so on, barriers have long persisted in one form or another. 

Still, Juneteenth marks the beginning of the end of a long-fought struggle in the United States. It is also important to note that this doesn’t just impact the U.S.—approximately 4 million Africans were captured and forced into slavery throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Because of this, the experience of the Black American community also extends to the Afro Latino and Caribbean communities that collectively identify as members of the African Diaspora. This is seen not just in the hardships these groups have experience, but in the evolving cultural parallels.

To commemorate and honor the heritage of the Black experience in America, Egnyte and its employees hosted a series of events and shared resources to deepen our knowledge of the importance of this holiday in the country where the company was founded.

Book Club

Egnyters came together to read and discuss "Between the World and Me." This phenomenal piece of literature by Ta-Nehisi Coates shares an intimate letter from the author to his son about what it's like to be a Black man in America. The work is beautifully woven, bold, and details America’s racial history in a way that’s reminiscent of James Baldwin. We were able to have an honest conversation about the book and the emotions it invoked.

Bingo

We led an interactive game of bingo coupled with Black trivia for Egnyters across the company. This fun event allowed Egnyters to come together around a game that so many of us love and provided an opportunity to learn some unique Black history facts.

Scholarship Fund

In partnership with the SANS Institute and its HBCU Cyber Academy, Egnyte is pleased to announce the launch of The Spark Scholarship. This initiative will award a scholarship to a student at a Historically Black College or University within the Cyber Academy studying computer science. The goal is to foster the next generation of tech leaders and aid in diversifying the tech industry. We are thrilled to launch this initiative with such a reputable organization and launch a program that will have a tangible impact on Black students for years to come.

This was Egnyte’s first year celebrating Juneteenth, but it certainly won’t be the last. With the help of a great planning committee, we look forward to doing even more to celebrate this important day and to reflect on the Black experience in America.

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