Ideally, a holiday is a day to remember. To observe, reflect, celebrate — to muster a mindful posture.

Most of all, a holiday is about being aware. We are to take a step back, turn off the noise of the day, and attend to that for which the day was created.

In the case of birthdays, of a life. Religious holidays, a historical event, the transcendent power of spiritual reality, and values around human behavior. And holidays such as Independence Day and Memorial Day to reinforce the unique elements of our great nation.

In 2021, President Biden led an effort for the creation new federal holiday: Junteenth. The history behind Juneteenth is foggy to many. In short, though the Emancipation Proclamation was effective in 1863, slavery remained because Confederate states remained. But on June 19th, 1865, about 2,000 Union soldiers rolled into Galveston Bay, Texas. And they announced the new federal law: slavery was illegal.

A quarter of a million African Americans suddenly were free.

I wrote about it here in 2021. 

Juneteenth celebrates our country’s “second independence day.” Although long recognized in the African American community, this tremendous event remains unknown to most Americans.

As leaders, none of us today deal with the insidiousness of anything close to slavery in our workplaces. And yet each of us must, as leaders, bring awareness to other forms of injustice — forces that, while not illegal, often deprive organizations of attainment of success.

These include the existence within the staff of mental illness, sexual misconduct, toxic factions, and personal setbacks at home, such as the illness of a child or spouse. The forces can include subtitles that leaders, too often burdened with the pressures of measurable metrics such as KPIs, overlook.

Invisible powers, such as toxic emotional processes, can slowly damage a positive corporate culture.

A holiday is a time to orient our minds — to foster awareness on or around a particular day. Good leaders work to amalgamate the same awareness into the very fabric of each day.