After a year of growing calls for racial justice fueled by incidents like the death of George Floyd, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday in the United States. That’s thanks to a bill unanimously passed by Congress this week. Juneteenth, a word mash of June and the 19th, commemorates June 19th of 1865. On that day, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed slaves that the Civil War had ended, and slavery was abolished.
The celebration of emancipation garnered the support of almost every state in the nation as well as numerous businesses. Before Congress voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday earlier this week, 48 states and Washington, DC, already recognized it as either a state or ceremonial holiday. Many large corporations like Google, Allstate and General Motors have also implemented ways to commemorate the date.
This year, Target and Best Buy stores will pay their hourly employees time and a half and give all corporate employees a paid holiday. Nike, Inc. also adopted Juneteenth as a paid annual holiday for US and Puerto Rican-based employees.
Last year, Allstate announced Juneteenth would become an annual company holiday in order to provide Allstaters the opportunity to reflect on the monumental event and engage in their communities. The company released a statement that said, “Systemic racism is pervasive and we must not be complicit by inaction or silence. For our society to eliminate the inequities in America, each of us needs to have the will to change, the heart to trust and the energy to lead.”
But it’s not just major retailers that are celebrating Juneteenth this year. Companies like Regus, a global network of commercial office workplaces, announced they would close their U.S. offices on Friday, June 18th in observance of Juneteenth Day — which falls on a Saturday this year. Whether large or small, retailer or property owner, here are a few different ways companies can commemorate this important day in US history.
- Offer employees a paid day off to reflect on the significance of June 19th, 1865.
- Commit to internal changes and strategic initiatives that promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in hiring and promotional opportunities with the company.
- Start a company-sponsored day of service and give back to the community through volunteer work.
- Share Juneteenth resources with your team.
- Promote Black-owned businesses via social media or support a Black-owned restaurant by treating your employees to lunch.
- Make a financial donation to a civil rights or social justice organization.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.