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Ancestry.com, United and Snipes offer three Juneteenth campaigns that honor and inform

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By Audrey Kemp | Junior Reporter

June 17, 2022 | 5 min read

When it comes to the day that liberated some 4 million people from slavery, brands and marketers must be especially careful when delivering messages about it. United Airlines, Ancestry.com and SNIPES demonstrate how to launch Juneteenth-related campaigns the right way.

This Sunday marks not only Father’s Day but also Juneteenth – a holiday that commemorates the end of racial slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the message that the Civil War was over. Although the Black community has celebrated Juneteenth ever since, Congress didn’t establish it as a federal holiday until 2021. From showcasing powerful Black art to informative films, here are three organizations who we feel are tactfully celebrating and spreading awareness about this important day in American history.

1. Underserved students soar with United Airlines

On June 16, United Airlines took 100 underserved high school students and Boys & Girls Club members from the Houston area on their first-ever flight.

united's black crew, who hosted students for a juneteenth event

United's Black crew and Opal Lee, the beloved "Grandmother of Juneteenth" / United Airlines

united's black crew, who hosted students for a juneteenth event

During the 90-minute charter flight – managed by United's business resource group BEACON and hosted by an all-Black crew – students flew out of Bush Intercontinental Airport and learned about the significance of Juneteenth as well as Black history in aviation. On Juneteenth, a 60-second clip of the flight, co-created by agency ConCreates and narrated by Opal Lee, the 95-year-old woman who fought to make Juneteenth a federal holiday -- will go live across United's social channels.

“We were honored to host 100 Houston-area high school students for a Juneteenth commemoration and day in aviation at Houston Intercontinental,” –BEACON President Helon Hammond said in a statement. “Juneteenth is such an important day, especially in Houston, which is only about 50 miles away from Galveston.”

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The effort is part of United’s goal of inspiring future careers with the airline, which aims to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030. Up to half of them will be women and people of color.

2. Ancestry’s new campaign grants a 150-year-old wish

Although the Civil War freed millions of African Americans, few were ever reunited with their families. In honor of Juneteenth, Ancestry.com has premiered a 25-minute documentary exploring one family’s reunion after 150 years of separation titled, “A Dream Delivered: The Lost Letters of Hawkins Wilson.”

The moving film, directed by Rashidi Harper and hosted by Emmy-nominated actor Anthony Anderson, tells the affecting story of Hawkins Wilson, a man who was permanently separated from his siblings during slavery. In a desperate attempt to find his lost relatives, he, like many other emancipated slaves, sent letters to the Freedmen’s Bureau. The letters remained undelivered – until now.

The full film can be watched on Ancestry's website and YouTube channel.

2. SNIPES uplifts Black artists in Juneteenth gallery show

On June 18, sneaker and streetwear brand SNIPES put the work of four contemporary Black artists in the limelight at Brookln gallery, The Annex.

cartoon drawings of the artists featured in snipe's gallery show

The brand commissioned each artist – Philadelphia-based collage artist Nazeer Sabree, Texas-based painter Desiree Vaniecia, New York portrait photographer Kendal Bessent of New York and Atlanta-based “ghetto” photographer Yolanda Hoskey – to create a Juneteenth-themed piece that incorporates at least one of SNIPE’s pillars, which are “support,” “empower” and “celebrate.”

During the two-part event, the artists will also lead a workshop and panel discussion.

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