On Friday an overwhelming number of U.S. companies gave off workers for Juneteenth, creating expectations that the day commemorating the abolition of slavery would soon become a real national holiday.
However, the momentum might hinge on whether the country’s largest employer — the federal government — is joining the trend. The day — 19 June — is not a public holiday and other non-black Americans have been aware of the day just recently.
Workers get off Juneteenth
According to HellaCreative, a group of black creative professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area that launched an initiative to galvanize corporate support to make it an official holiday. Over 460 companies, including Twitter, Lyft, and Nike have committed to seeing Juneteenth, with the majority offering a day off.
It’s a possible shift in the sea, expanding recognition of the date among African Americans who have long celebrated it with cookouts, parades and festivals throughout the city.
“We had to explain and define the black history, “said Hella Creative co-founder Miles Dotson. “Our dream is that we have said it enough enough. People outside of ourselves feel that they are part of this image in equal measure.”
June 10th commemorates the day the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. It was 155 years ago in Galveston, Texas. Where two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers also brought the news to them.
Last year, Juneteenth meant to be a day of social rights marches in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police shooting. A key force behind businesses choosing to mark the day. Other prominent employee-free corporations include Target, J.C. Penney, Best Buy, NFL, and J.P. Morgan Chase.
“As a black person, I was ‘sat down’ by older relatives. And I heard stories of disenfranchisement, discrimination, and the multiple exclusions they faced”. Philip Thompson, a Shutter stock image provider team leader, who also admitted Juneteenth to be a permanent company vacation said.