June 19, 2022 – As today marks Juneteenth in the U.S., we had the opportunity to speak with Larry Scott Blackmon, Vice President for Public Affairs at FreshDirect. Larry was able to share great insight into Juneteenth, what it means to him and how FreshDirect is moving towards a more equitable future with racial equality and inclusion.
Read the full interview below.
Juneteenth is the federal holiday in the United States that officially commemorates the end of slavery as an institution in this country. Although Abraham Lincoln initiated the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, slavery did not end in this country until two years later in 1865. This holiday brings the ability for African Americans and its descendants to remember our past and never forget the struggle of our ancestors and their contributions towards making America what it is today for everyone.
This year FreshDirect is honoring Juneteenth by participating in two events. We are partnering with the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) and the Association for a Better New York, one of NYC's leading business organizations, for a daylong celebration that commemorates Juneteenth through art, culture, music, and food. Additionally on Sunday June 20th, FreshDirect is partnering with a nonprofit organization, the Brooklyn Bank, to co-sponsor a Black economic wealth conversation at the historic Kings Theater in Brooklyn, New York.
FreshDirect is proud of its role as a progressive brand that constantly looks to push the agenda for racial equity and inclusion forward. FreshDirect is a “majority minority” brand, meaning that the majority of our employees are people of color. That is a tremendous step towards equality.
This week we held an LGBTQ+ panel discussion featuring employees who shared their stories as people of color, and the challenges they face on a daily basis. The willingness of FreshDirect and its leadership to provide a safe space for individuals to speak freely is an extraordinary triumph, and our panel discussion was well received.
Additionally, FreshDirect programming and its outreach methods that are led by this office (Public Affairs) are targeted to individuals of all backgrounds, serving as a unifying force for individuals to come together under the spirit of food.
While Juneteenth is a day of commemoration and for some a day of celebration, we must not lose sight of the fact that the struggles that people of color face continue to persist in America and beyond. I hope that many of you who are not familiar with Juneteenth take a moment of somber reflection to understand that which binds all of us. What binds all of us together is the common pursuit of fairness, equality, and love for one another that comes from a much higher place. My hope is that you will find the time to contribute towards the betterment of another. Through the struggles of our ancestors – using Juneteenth as the catalyst - we can all work to make the world a much happier, pleasant, and safer place.
Larry Scott Blackmon leads community and government relations, and serves as FreshDirect’s main driver for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. He also holds an executive certificate from Northwestern University having completed its rigorous Diversity Equity and Inclusion program.