As the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth is a day that honors African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.
We asked The Loken Group team members to share what Juneteenth means to them and how they celebrate, as well as their favorite Black-owned businesses to support in the Greater Houston area. Here’s what they had to say:
Erica Paige, Buyer Specialist:
“Juneteenth is a celebratory moment in history, especially Black history, that signifies the date in which slaves in Texas received the news that slavery had been abolished. I grew up in Mississippi in which every year we attended a parade and community celebration. I have continued that celebration into adulthood. In the last few years, I have celebrated by getting together with friends and supporting Black owned restaurants and businesses.
Juneteenth is so important. As a Texan, it is even more special seeing that the ancestry of African Americans in Texas would not have the freedoms we do without this significant day.”
Kwasi Boateng, Dispatch Coordinator:
“My first experience with Juneteenth started when I was younger and introduced to me through my extended family in the Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, and Beaumont mainly. It was always a celebration and somewhat festive time, which is how I came to define the holiday as a kid. It wasn’t until I was older and did my own research that I began to appreciate it more and what it meant to my family and the representation it brought to the Black community.
These days I typically celebrate by catching up with family, hitting up local gatherings in the city, and volunteering at community events when I can.”
James Doyle, Director of Talent:
“Juneteenth is very important to my family because we are able to trace our family tree into slavery and Juneteenth was “our” Independence Day. My family still owns a small portion of the property my ancestors once worked and every year since before I was born, we have a celebration picnic commemorating the date. Literally, hundreds of family and friends gather for food and games. When he was alive, my grandfather would tell stories passed down to him about what life was like on our plantation. Juneteenth is as American as July 4th for Americans of African descent in the south. It is great to celebrate July 4th but our independence was not won in 1776 because at that time we were still deemed only 3/5 human. Juneteenth has and will always be our Independence Day.”
Our Commitment to Change
Our company is committed to celebrating and uplifting the histories, stories, and voices of the Black community. The Loken Group’s diversity, equity, and inclusion task force is currently working to educate our team on barriers that different groups face in home ownership, as well as ways to improve and build upon a culture of inclusivity and connectedness both within and outside of the workplace.
Black-Owned Restaurants & Businesses in the Houston area
EaDo Hand Car Wash
A professional “Mom & Pop” hand car wash and detail shop located in East Downtown.
2919 Leeland St, Houston, TX 77003
Hours: Thursday 12–7 PM, Friday – Saturday 8 AM–7 PM, Sunday 9 AM–6 PM, Closed Monday – Wednesday
Lucille’s of Houston
Modern takes on Southern classics by a classically trained chef served in a cozy, vintage house.
5512 La Branch St, Houston, TX 77004
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 11–3 PM & 4–9 PM, Friday 11–3PM & 4–10PM, Saturday 11AM–3PM & 4–10PM, Sunday 10AM–3 PM, Closed Monday
Ray’s Bbq Shack
Hickory-smoked meats and house made sides and desserts plus seafood specials in a casual dining room.
3929 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX 77021
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11AM–8 PM, Closed Sunday
Taste Bar + Kitchen
Late-night chicken and waffles menu plus fusion Southern fare and cocktails served in a casual space.
3015 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77006
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11 AM–11 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM–2 AM
Through Good Coffee
Hip hangout for coffee and tea drinks serving local baked goods in industrial-chic environment.
732 W 27th St, Houston, TX 77008
Hours: Monday – Friday 7 AM–4 PM, Saturday – Sunday 8 AM–5 PM