NEW YORK—This week, President Biden officially declared Juneteenth—today, June 19—a federal holiday. Juneteenth marks the day that Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in the summer of 1865 and freed more than 150,000 Black Americans, who had remained enslaved despite President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation nearly two years earlier. The anniversary has long been important to the Black community in the United States, and after nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, more and more U.S.-based organizations began to acknowledge this important day, too.

Many have pointed out that although making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a heartening, positive step, it should not be the end all and be all when it comes to honoring the experience and history of Black Americans. There are many things we can do both on a personal level and within our workplaces to honor Juneteenth, from paid company holidays to donating funds and starting conversations with friends, family and colleagues. Head over to the Harvard Business Review for some ideas on how your organization can recognize Juneteenth this year (it’s not too late), next year and beyond. 

This year, WebMD published an in-depth series exploring the work needed to address the health inequities in the Black community that have been underscored by the Covid-19 pandemic. The series involves interviews with a group of Black health care professionals, who were blunt in their assessment of a health care system that has known for decades that racism and health inequality were implicit in the poor health outcomes in communities of color. But, they also voiced reasons for hope in the growing acknowledgment within the public health and policy communities that simply doing research and assessing health outcomes data, without acting on it, is no longer acceptable. The full series is now available, as well as a Special Report: Coronavirus in Context With John Whyte episode that takes a look at why communities of color experience health inequality.

Many within the optical industry have taken to social media to honor Juneteenth as well. Here’s a look at how some companies, organizations and individuals are recognizing this important day. This is just a small sample.
Darryl Glover, OD and Jenn Lyerly, OD, of DeFocus Media, shared a post from Duke Eye Center which featured Leon Herndon, MD, chief of the glaucoma clinic, in the operating room with all Black residents for the first time in his 25-year tenure. Image via defocusmedia on Instagram.

On his Instagram stories, Tarrence Lackran, director of partnerships and programming at The Vision Council and known as @theopticalpoet on Instagram, shared screenshots of many different ways optical companies are honoring Juneteenth. Here, he shares Black Optical’s newsletter. Image via theopticalpoet on Instagram.

Today, June 19, State Optical will donate all online sunglasses sales from to the Open Your Eyes Scholarship, which provides full scholarships to opticianry school and paid internships to high school seniors in Black and Brown communities, aiming to increase diversity in the optical industry. Image via stateopticalco on Instagram.

MyEyeDr. is working with Darryl Glover, OD and the rest of the team at Black Eyecare Perspective to support of IMPACT HBCU to help grow the representation of Black American ECPs. Image via myeyedr on Instagram.

Ruth Shoge, OD, known as blackgirlonthego on Instagram, shared a post celebrating the marking of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and explaining some of the history being this important holiday. Image via blackgirlonthego on Instagram.

National Vision also shared some of the history behind Juneteenth on Twitter. Image via NVIofficial on Twitter.

Many eyewear companies are marking Juneteenth by sharing a pledge from Black Eyecare Perspective and donating 19 percent of total sales on Juneteenth to the Open Your Eyes Scholarship. Pledges including Robert Marc NYC and Morgenthal Frederics, both pictured here. Images via robertmarcnc and morgenthalfrederics on Instagram.