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Multiple companies have announced that they will either honor or recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for their employees this year, as a sign of support for the Black community.
Juneteenth, a blend of the words June and nineteenth, honors the end of slavery in the United States. Celebrated on June 19, it marks the day in 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed slaves there that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished.
To honor the holiday, some companies are giving employees a paid day off while others, like General Motors, are observing moments of silence.
The company decisions to recognize the holiday come after the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. His death has spurred widespread protests around the world, with demonstrators and lawmakers urging police reform.
Here is a running list of the companies that promised to recognize Juneteenth:
Retailer Best Buy announced it will offer employees a “paid volunteer day” this upcoming Juneteenth, which is Friday, adding that it will be recognized as a companywide holiday starting next year.
“We have made the decision to give all employees a paid volunteer day that can be used this Friday or any day this year for any of these purposes,” a press release from Best Buy said.
“Starting next year, Juneteenth will become a formal, paid company holiday. We made the decision to begin this next year only because June 19 is just a few days away, and we wanted to give as much flexibility as possible to accommodate individual schedules.”
General Motors announced plans to hold moments of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on Friday, the same amount of time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck.
The moments of silence, according to an internal memo, will occur at 8:46 a.m. local time for workers on first shifts and 8:46 p.m. for second-shift workers.
“I really believe eight-plus minutes of solid reflection will benefit everyone,” General Motors President Mark Reuss wrote in the memo. “I’m sure many of you have felt the same glut of emotions I have while watching recent events unfold … disbelief, anger, shame, grief, and ultimately heartbreak. This is not who we are as humankind, nor as a country. We can and must be better than this.”
In a memo circulated to staff, Google, a unit of Alphabet, urged its employees to cancel all unnecessary meetings scheduled for this Friday, Juneteenth.
“We encourage all Googlers to use this day to create space for learning and reflection, so please don’t schedule any unnecessary meetings,” the memo, obtained by Reuters, said.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to find moments of connection as a community.”
J.C. Penney announced in a memo to staffers that Juneteenth will be considered an annual holiday for its employees.
In the memo, CEO Jill Soltau said this Friday would be a paid day off for J.C. Penney workers, adding that hourly associates working that day will receive holiday pay.
“I ask that you take the day to honor the historic pain caused by — and lives lost to — racial inequity and celebrate racial diversity,” Soltau said. “This is an opportunity to continue to learn, connect with each other and reflect on how we can move forward and achieve permanent and lasting change.”
“Out of deep respect for the suffering that the Black community has endured over hundreds of years and in recognition of the high esteem in which we hold our Black community at JPMorgan Chase, we are closing all Chase branches at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 19 — known as Juneteenth,” Dimon said.
Ride-hailing giant Lyft said on Twitter that Juneteenth would be regarded as a companywide holiday effective Friday.
“Starting this year, we’re making Juneteenth an official holiday at Lyft,” the tweet said. “It’s one step in our ongoing journey toward racial equality at Lyft, and in this country.”
Mastercard designated this Friday as a “Day of Solidarity” to celebrate Juneteenth, urging its employees to spend the day learning about the history of racism and taking steps to fight injustice.
“June 19 marks Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. In support of Mastercard’s statement last week about What We Stand For, the day is a perfect opportunity for all of us around the world to pause and reflect,” a press release said.
“While the date itself acknowledges a milestone in U.S. history, the sad fact is there’s work to do everywhere to combat racism and discrimination.”
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said Juneteenth will be recognized as a league holiday and ordered the closing of the NFL office, according to a memo obtained by CNBC last week.
In the memo, Goodell said he wants staff to use June 19 as a day to “reflect on our past but, more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future.”
“At Nike, Inc., we aspire to be a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture. We want to be better than society as a whole,” Donahoe said in the letter, adding that celebrating Juneteenth is an opportunity “to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”
“As I have listened deeply during my first six months and over the past few weeks, what I have learned is that many have felt a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience,” Donahoe said. “You have told me that we have not consistently supported, recognized and celebrated our own Black teammates in a manner they deserve. This needs to change.”
Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann on June 10 declared Juneteenth an official company holiday.
“Starting today Postmates will observe Juneteenth as a permanent company holiday,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Not just in response to the moment—but to allow all of us time to reflect on the Black American experience (from 1619 to today) & the actions required to move forward together.”
RXBar, a Chicago-based food company, announced Tuesday that Juneteenth would be a company holiday and encouraged its employees to “celebrate Black history.”
“To honor Juneteenth, a rememberance [sic] of slavery ending in the United States, RXBAR will be halting normal business operations and recognizing the day as a company holiday,” said RXBar President Jim Murray in a statement.
“In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement and fighting for the rights of Black people in this country, we would like to give employees the opportunity to celebrate Black history in American culture.”
Spotify, a music-streaming service, announced that Juneneenth would be a paid holiday for all employees.
“Juneteenth will be a paid company holiday for all U.S. Spotify employees to support the Black community and give this day the recognition it deserves,” reads a statement sent to CNBC.
“Additionally, in celebration of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, one of Spotify’s flagship playlists, ‘New Music Friday’ will exclusively feature black artists on Friday, June 19th.”
Target announced that the retailer would recognize Juneteenth as a companywide holiday going forward, with hourly team members working this Friday being paid time and a half.
“We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a press release.
“Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”
The company’s headquarters will be closed in observation of the holiday, the release said.
Twitter and Square
“Both Twitter and Square are making Juneteenth (June 19th) a company holiday in the US, forevermore,” Dorsey tweeted June 9. “A day for celebration, education, and connection.”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the ride-hailing company will observe Juneteenth this year, giving employees a paid day off.
“To embrace the meaning of Juneteenth this year, we’re making it a paid day off,” Khosrowshahi said in a tweet Wednesday.
“We encourage employees to spend it in a way that allows them to stand up against racism, whether that’s by learning, participating in a community action, or reflecting on how to make change.”
Some media companies like The New York Times and Vox Media have also indicated that they will observe Juneteenth.
— CNBC’s Jesse Pound, Jabari Young and Michael Wayland contributed reporting to this article.
Correction: RXBar is based in Chicago. An earlier version misstated the location.