Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a testament to our shared humanity. Let’s come together to honor the past, embrace the present, and build a future where every voice is heard and every talent shines.

Cisco sighn and banner at the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival 2024Following another successful Cisco Live! experience, I am still in awe of the many conversations I have had surrounding the importance of inclusion and pursuing purposeful work that builds business values. Reflecting on the importance of this upcoming Juneteenth holiday and what it means to me, Cisco’s purpose to power an inclusive future for all echoes as we sponsor the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival for the third year in a row.

Why we celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, marks the moment on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when the last enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were informed of their freedom. This day serves as a pivotal point in African American history and represents a profound testament to the enduring spirit of a people who have tirelessly advocated for freedom and equality.

For me, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a testament to our shared humanity. As I think about my journey as the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer of Cisco, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how my father’s journey contributed to making me who I am today. He immigrated to the United States from the Bahamas in the 1940s with only a sixth-grade education and a superhuman work ethic. He often worked multiple low wage jobs, all while enduring the harsh realities of racial segregation and stereotypes. Despite having limited opportunities, his faith, joy, and hope were boundless. The foundation of hard work and determination he instilled in my brothers and me played a tremendous role in all that I’ve accomplished so far.

This holiday serves as a time to celebrate the strength, resilience and determination of my own family and the families of those whose dreams were denied or deferred. Although rooted in African American history, Juneteenth’s core values of freedom, resilience, and equality transcend cultural boundaries and resonate universally. Embracing it as a national celebration reinforces the idea that freedom and justice are not exclusive to any one group but are inherent rights for all.

Amplifying Underrepresented Voices

As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is crucial to listen to and elevate the stories and experiences of African Americans and other marginalized groups.

We can do that by:

  • Supporting Black-owned businesses.
  • Investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Explore how we are partnering with HBCU’s like Clark Atlanta and others to drive impact as part of Cisco’s Social Justice Actions.
  • Seeking out the expertise of Black voices who are missing from the table.
  • Advocating for the career advancement of Black employees through sponsorship and The Multiplier Effect.

A Call for Reflection and Action

Juneteenth calls upon each of us to be change agents in the ongoing fight for equality and justice. Being a change agent requires a commitment to continuous learning and unlearning, recognizing our own biases, and actively working to dismantle them. Whether you’re attending the Cisco sponsored Juneteenth Parade in Atlanta, one of the many celebrations happenings across the United States or gathering with your family and friends, I hope you’ll find time to reflect on ways that you can champion change in your community. May we ground ourselves on the daily reminder that the fight for freedom and equality is ongoing and requires the collective effort of all people to embrace and honor our shared humanity.

Wishing you a happy Juneteenth! May it be filled with joy and purpose!


Girl celebrating Juneteenth with bubbles




Gloria Goins

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

People & Communities