This Is How Companies in America Are Honoring Juneteenth

To start: Paid volunteer days, reduced hours and educational seminars

People pray together during a Juneteenth event in Atlanta.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

June 19 marks 155 years since enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were finally free. That date in 1865 arrived two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered during the Civil War and over two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

That unacceptable delay from Proclamation to freedom is explained here.

Speaking of delays, Texas symbolically recognized the holiday in 1980; 45 other states have since followed suit. While parades and festivals have been common in several cities, this is probably the first year that many American businesses have formally recognized this important day in our nation’s history.

As of now, The New York Times, Twitter, Square and the NBA are treating this a paid holiday for workers. According to ESPN, the basketball league plans a series of social media initiatives, while employees will be invited to watch a virtual screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble, a film chronicling Rep. John Lewis’ years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, and watch a prerecorded Q&A discussion with Lewis.

The Times points out that Vox Media, Nike, Capital One, the NFLBest Buy and Target have also made similar announcements about recognizing holiday, either with reduced hours, paid volunteer days and/or educational events. A larger list of participating companies can be found here.

“This will be a day for our employees and teammates to educate and connect on the significance of this moment in Black history and we encourage all athletes to do the same,” as a statement by Nike notes.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.