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The “glue that kept the Juneteenth nation together”

National Juneteenth Observance Association customer story

Meet Steve Williams, President of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, Director of IT Services at NetSecurity Corporation, Principal Consultant at Micro Information Services—and, wait for it, leader of the Funkativity band.

Even though Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, it was the culmination of decades of hard work by dedicated civil rights activists.

So, how did one of the biggest—and oldest—grassroots movements in America organize itself and make Juneteenth happen?

Meetings, meetings, meetings

As a trained and certified Engineer (we’re talking Cisco-certified, Microsoft-certified, Google-certified…), Steve knew what he needed in a tech solution—and “ease of use” was at the top of the list.

Because a lot of our people are in rural places and we’ve got a lot of older people, we needed something that just worked. And Dialpad Meetings? It just worked. You don’t even have to put a PIN in.

Steve Williams

In fact, the first annual meeting that the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation ever had was on Dialpad!

“It was our first annual conference online—with PowerPoints and everything. We maxed out, had about 100 people on the call and maybe 12 people on video,” says Steve.

Today, the foundation has meetings pretty much every day of the week on Dialpad. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Regular Saturday meetings – 2 to 3 hours with everybody across the country.

  • Sunday classes on business and finance – 1 to 1.5 hours

  • Monday New Jersey meetings – For folks to meet and talk about Juneteenth in NJ

  • Monday meeting for team to make plans for the foundation’s annual meeting

  • Wednesday Education and National Miss Juneteenth meetings

  • Thursday nights – Board meetings

There’s even an educational meeting where they teach folks about technology.

“Last Tuesday we taught folks how to use Dialpad’s mobile app!” says Steve. “It’s always been seamless. The mobile app has made it a lot easier for some of our people to get on calls.”

In total, Steve estimates that the group spends anywhere from 17 to 25 hours a week on meetings using Dialpad. “If you look at our calendar, we’re on Dialpad—a lot.

But these meetings weren’t the only conversations they were having in Dialpad.

“This is how we organized—and stayed organized”

To get Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday, signatures were needed. And to get these signatures, Steve needed to talk to countless people, from senators to their constituents. These people were calling in from not only the US, but also Asia and Africa.

When we were talking to people on Capitol Hill and other dignitaries on Dialpad, they could easily dial in—which they loved. They loved Dialpad. They were like, ‘Man, you just click a link and you’re in?’ It was such a smooth operation.

Steve Williams

Beyond just getting a hold of senators and other dignitaries in these meetings, Steve and his team also had to make presentations about Juneteenth online…

… And record meetings for members who couldn't be there in person:

As Juneteenth crept closer and closer, the foundation kept up an incredible cadence of making hundreds upon hundreds of calls. In fact at one point, for a few weeks, Steve spent every morning calling somebody in the House of Representatives.

“Because we had these calls in Dialpad, I had a record of what they said—if they had any questions, however many constituents we had—and we could conference in local constituents too,” says Steve.

This is how we organized—and stayed organized—all the way through to getting the Juneteenth legislation passed.

Steve Williams

Keeping oral histories alive

Beyond working to get Juneteenth legislation passed, the foundation also used Dialpad to do another important task: recording oral histories and making sure they get passed onto future generations.

Everything is recorded and transcribed in Dialpad, so we’ve been using it to transcribe interviews with historical people—people who had oral histories from their grandparents about when Juneteenth took place in Texas, people who used to cut Frank Sinatra’s hair, people from west Las Vegas who told us about the integration of the Las Vegas Strip—and the recordings are all there in Dialpad.

Steve Williams

One unique thing about Dialpad is that it can transcribe these conversations—during the call itself—even more accurately than Google:

“This is how we kept the family together,” says Steve, “Especially after Doc (Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D, the founder of National Juneteenth Observance Foundation) passed. We could still see each other on Dialpad.”

This is one of the most unique—and most impactful—customer stories that we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to feature. And stories like this are a constant reminder for us of the importance of the work that many of our customers do. All the best, Steve.

Everybody will tell you. Dialpad is the glue that kept the Juneteenth nation together for a long time, it was our home.

Steve Williams

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