Commemorating & Celebrating Juneteenth at Twilio

June 17, 2022
Written by

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Juneteenth is a historic moment in the liberation of Black communities in the United States. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the abolition of slavery was not fully enforced until June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that all remaining enslaved people were free. Last year, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday in the U.S. For us, Juneteenth is a company-wide holiday and important reminder for all Twilions that the racial justice movement is an ongoing global call to action to build a more equitable Twilio by living our anti-racist commitment.

Doing the work year-round

Twilio’s racial equity work and support of Black Twilions is not confined to just one day. We continue this work every day so that we make these efforts less of a moment of honor, and more a movement of change. To support the advancement of Black Twilions year-round, we are doing doing the following:

  1. Leveraging external partnerships, including McKinsey & Company and Executive Leadership Council, to provide Black Twilions with leadership development opportunities.
  2. Partnered with Coqual in creating the inaugural Black Equity Index to measure progress toward racial equity in the workplace annually for tech companies.
  3. Launched “Living into Anti-Racism” workshops to educate all people managers on how to identify and challenge racist systems and policies that create barriers for Black Twilions and other marginalized groups.
  4. Activating our safe spaces program to ensure Black Twilions are supported following racially motivated violence in the news through roundtable discussions with senior-level Black executives.
  5. Partnering with our Black Twilions Employee Resource Group (ERG) to facilitate anti-racist programming and provide members with professional development and networking opportunities. We also launched a Black Twilions ERG chapter in Europe.
  6. Hosted discussions on race in the workplace with Black leaders, scholars, and influences, including Michelle Obama, Heather McGhee, Dr. Ebun Joseph, and Dr. Ibram X Kendi.

A call to action

This Juneteenth, we call on the Twilio community to reflect on how they can fight against social injustices, Here 3 ways you can show up, take action, and support the advancement of the Black community:

  1. Reflect. Think about where you have the power to break down systemic barriers as individuals, co-workers, and leaders.
  2. Educate yourself. Research organizations or historical events and advocate with actions that create change and promote equality.
  3. Give. Find ways to find ways to participate in social activism and amplify Black voices. We put together a list of organizations that are doing the work to get you started:
    • StreetCode Academy* offers free technology, design, and entrepreneurship classes for all ages to communities of color in East Palo Alto and the Bay area in efforts to help open access to technology for the Black community.

      *Twilions - The Black Twilions ERG is running a month-long volunteer and crowdfunding campaign with this organization. Learn more on the ‘Observing Juneteenth at Twilio’ Switchboard article.
    • The NAACP Legal Defense Fund supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation, and education.
    • The Bail Project dedicates efforts to combating mass incarceration and reshaping the pretrial system in the United States.
    • Campaign Zero focuses on ending police violence in America.
    • The Conscious Kid conducts research and creates programming dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth.

We look forward to seeing how you all commemorate and celebrate this holiday, and continue this work beyond. Happy Juneteenth!