Juneteenth Interview Series: Michael Pruden, Media Manager
Today we will continue our celebration of Juneteenth with our next entry….
On June 19th, 1865, General Order Number 3 was read to all individuals residing in Galveston, Texas, proclaiming that all slaves in America, including in the state of Texas, were henceforth free. June 19th, or Juneteenth, marks a very specific date where major progress in our country was not only made, but more importantly enforced. The battle for racial equality has and will continue, but since the inception of Juneteenth there have been other major strides and successes among African American individuals or diverse groups.
The following is a quote from Harmelin Media’s president, Mary Meder:
“Last year, amid a summer of unrest and a social justice revolution, we recognized Juneteenth for the first time as a company. This year, we are proud to expand that effort and shine a brighter light on the significance of this date for Black Americans. Over the past several years, the company has made progress in growing staff diversity, introduced DEI training and talked more frankly about issues concerning race and equality. But we acknowledge how much more there is to do to fulfill our company commitment to equity and inclusion. We salute the Black leaders within Harmelin and thank them for sharing a bit of themselves for this series of interviews, and we appreciate the work that members of the Cares and SHADE committees are doing, working together, to highlight Juneteenth.”
To celebrate Juneteenth and diversity in the company we recently interviewed African American leaders at Harmelin. Today we would like to recognize Michael Pruden!
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
To me it signifies a time when America finally began to acknowledge and honor the words outlined in the Declaration of Independence – “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
How would you like to see society celebrate/observe Juneteenth?
I would like Juneteenth to be celebrated much as America celebrates Independence Day.
Do you think it should be a national holiday? If so let us know why.
Yes, absolutely. Juneteenth marked the start of a new era for our young country. Our education system provides us with a basic history of slavery in America, but I find that there is not enough emphasis on the importance of Juneteenth itself. Making this a national holiday would shed more light and allow for a better understanding.
What has been your greatest success at Harmelin?
I’d say my personal and professional development has been my greatest success here at Harmelin – and a majority of that can be attributed to the responsibilities and opportunities bestowed upon me by senior leaders.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I’d say my father has inspired me the most. My father was presented with several life-changing opportunities, but instead chose to forgo his dreams to ensure all three of his sons grew up to be the men that he envisioned them to be. It wasn’t until I graduated college that he revealed his sacrifices, and has since been my driving force.
In your opinion, how would you like to see your environment grow with diversity in the future?
Continue to provide equal opportunities for all. Harmelin does a great job of providing a space of inclusivity and respectfulness.
What is your approach to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds?
I truly believe that simple conversation is the best way to understand the views and opinions of colleagues/friends/strangers from different backgrounds. If you do not engage with others, you cannot learn.
Positive change is necessary in our society, and we should continue to strive for it. Whether it is within a media marketing company, in our homes, our community, or our city, we must ensure that the fight for equal rights continues. While doing so, it is also important to take time and recognize those that have made such amazing changes and have been so positive in our environment. At Harmelin, we hope to accomplish this for every race and ethnicity, focusing these days on African Americans as Juneteenth approaches.
For more information contact us.