Juneteenth, Freedom and the Work Ahead

Posted by Kurt Rakos on 6/19/22 9:00 AM
Kurt Rakos
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Juneteenth - Freedom and the work ahead

Learning, Understanding, and Driving Real Change

This year, as we recognize Juneteenth, we’re also reflecting on the fundamental human right to freedom itself. It’s not true freedom without truly equal access to education, rewarding work, and the opportunity to earn personal income and assets that can lead to generational wealth and security.

Yet right here, in spite of all the national attention on the Twin Cities’ woeful racial disparities in employment and income, those gaps still exist. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), unemployment rates are an impressively low 3.3%... until you look at the numbers by race.  As of April 2022, Black unemployment in Minnesota was 6.7%, more than twice the state’s average – and 2.4 times the rate for white Minnesotans.

Those aren’t just numbers. They’re a wake-up call. For us at SkyWater, they’re also a call to action. As a growing executive recruiting firm, we know that with our success comes responsibility.  If an executive recruiting firm can’t play some meaningful role in driving those changes, then who can? That’s what we have been working toward. 

Getting there requires effort and focus. It can be uncomfortable to look in the mirror and ask “How might we be unconsciously participating in old processes and systems that are prolonging these inequities? What do we need to change in ourselves?” Uncomfortable, but we have to do it.

It also takes education. We cannot truly stand for something if we’re unwilling to dig deep and accept the history, current realities, and credible advice from experts.

There is much work to be done. Here at SkyWater, some of that work will always include education. Because we have found this journey to be humbling, eye-opening, and inspiring, we would like to share some Juneteenth resources from the Hennepin County Library. This Juneteenth, they are sponsoring Honoring Ancestors: Dreaming Forward, a series of celebratory and informative events that recognize “the contributions and legacies of local leaders” and “reflect on what has been passed down through the generations, even when the path ahead is unseen and uncertain.” We hope you’ll check them out.

However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a happy Juneteenth and we look forward to partnering with you in promoting greater racial equity in the Twin Cities employment market.


Unfamiliar with Juneteenth? Here's some information on the design and history of the Juneteenth flag (our featured image for this blog post).


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Topics: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion