As a little girl growing up in Oakland, CA, Juneteenth was a major celebratory time in my community. It felt like the only time, outside of Black History Month, that Black freedom and culture were given a spotlight. As I became an adult I recognized the duality in observing this holiday. I’d vacillate between outrage over the truth in the holiday’s significance and how it still resembles arduous modern-day life for Black people. But it also represented liberation and just how far purpose, tenacity, hope, and resistance have gotten us – it’s a symbol of how far we’ve actually come.
Companies have also joined in recognizing the significance of this holiday, which was rather unusual two years ago, as the holiday was practically unknown outside of Black people and scholars. Nextdoor was among the first companies to embrace this holiday back in 2020 and in my current role as Lead of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) I was excited for us as a company to leverage this Juneteenth as a way to go beyond simply designating a day off for employees. But to also carve out time to pause, center our focus on the Black community, and reflect on its history.
Earlier this month, on June 16th, our DEIB team collaborated with our employee resource group, B@ND (Black at Nextdoor) to host a live event that turned the spotlight on Black culture and challenged the one-dimensional portrayal of a well known Black community. We held a virtual screening of the award-winning documentary film, Fire on the Hill and hosted a live Q&A with the cast and director.
Set in Compton, California, Fire on the Hill tells the story of the resilience of the Black Cowboys of South Central LA and their fight to preserve their culture, shift the narrative of their neighborhood, and provide a new path for the inner-city youth in their community.
From our anti-discrimination policies to our partnerships with civil rights organizations to our DEIB efforts to be a workplace welcoming to marginalized and historically excluded communities. Giving visibility to this story and a voice to this community helped build upon the work we do every day to prioritize kindness and belonging at Nextdoor. We invite you to commemorate Juneteenth by watching the trailer for Fire on the Hill.
Tiana Davis Kara is a culture catalyst advocating for the advancement of systemically excluded communities in the workplace. She is currently the Lead for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Nextdoor, strengthening its mission to cultivate a kinder world where everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on. She is furthering the development of an inclusive culture, amplifying the needs of the company’s diverse community, and ensuring equitable practices across the organization and platform. Tiana is a passionate champion for change who has gained experience working for notable non-profit and for-profit brands (Gap, Black Girls CODE, BUILT BY GIRLS, Verizon) leading the charge for representation in the tech industry. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her humanitarian and philanthropic achievements from Holy Names University. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, and is now adulting in Brooklyn, NY as a mother to a beautiful and indefatigable toddler.
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