In a celebration of Juneteenth, Tyson Foods hosted a food donation event at its world headquarters on Saturday. The annual event aimed to support the local community, bringing the community together in a spirit of generosity and solidarity.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger shared General Order No. 3, marking freedom for enslaved people in Texas — 2 1/2 years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had little effect due to the Civil War.
Juneteenth — from “June” and “nineteenth” — has an historic legacy that has long been celebrated in the African American community. But it was not until the summer of 2020, when protests flared over the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, that a fight to make June 19 a holiday was revived.
On June 17, 2021, Congress passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and President Joe Biden signed it into law. Today, Juneteenth symbolizes a commitment to reckon with the past and work toward an inclusive future — with difficult conversations and the fight for equality and justice.
Serving our communities
The Juneteenth food donation event, organized by the company’s African Ancestry Alliance Business Resource Group (AAABRG), took place in Springdale, Arkansas, at the company’s world headquarters. In just over two hours, a dedicated team of about 40 volunteers tirelessly worked to unload an 18-wheeler trailer of food, placing cases of food into the cars of community members. In total, the donations weighed 40,000 pounds, translating into more than 2,100 cases of food. The community response was overwhelming. Neighbors from near and far lined up for miles, eager to receive a box of food.
Simeon Hinsey, the co-chair of the AAABRG, expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming turnout. “We have bacon, chicken thighs, chicken tenders, Italian sausages—just a variety of different things that were given out today. Seeing the number of people that have shown up today shows that people have a need.” He added, “Next year, we hope to have double the amount of food.”
Reflecting on the event’s impact, Hinsey emphasized its broader significance in celebrating Juneteenth.
This event is a celebration of Juneteenth for people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and ethnicities. We are serving our community and helping to spread the word of the significance of Juneteenth, what it means to African Americans, and why we celebrate.”
In recognition of Juneteenth, Tyson Foods also donated food to Millie Peartree Food Pantry in the Bronx, New York, and to community members in Jacksonville, Arkansas, in partnership with the local MLK Commission.
The Role of AAABRG in Fostering Belonging
The AAABRG, which represents Tyson Foods team members of African descent, plays a vital role in advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the company. The business resource group seeks to create opportunities for networking, dialogue, and support across the company’s locations worldwide, emphasizing the importance of a unified and connected workforce.
Hinsey, who recently assumed the role of co-chair said, “The AAABRG gives our members a voice, a place to connect and share ideas. Ultimately fostering a more inclusive work environment.” Hinsey said the AAABRG is committed to ensuring that all team members feel included and welcomed regardless of location.
As Tyson Foods continues its journey toward a more equitable and inclusive future, it remains dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within its ranks and the communities it serves. The Juneteenth food donation event is a powerful testament to Tyson Foods’ ongoing commitment to positively impact and foster a sense of belonging for all.
To learn more about Tyson’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, visit https://www.tysonfoods.com/who-we-are/our-people/inclusion-diversity.