How Companies Are Marking Juneteenth 2021

·9 min read

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On Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed a bill to officially declare Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The holiday, occuring on June 19 every year, marks the end of slavery in the U.S., which ultimately came in 1865 - two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

"Throughout history, Juneteenth has been known as many things: Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day," Vice President Kamala Harris said after the bill was signed. "And today, a national holiday."

Juneteenth marks the 12th federal holiday in the United States and the first new national holiday since the creation of Martin Luther King Day in 1983.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Joe Biden (left), Kamala Harris

Below, we've rounded up how companies across the country are marking the new federal holiday in unique ways.

Allstate

The insurance company began observing Juneteenth as an annual company holiday in 2020 "to provide Allstaters the opportunity to reflect on this monumental event and engage in their communities," they said in a statement on their website. They added that they are "conducting a top-to-bottom review of our operating practices, pay and promotions for people of color and women to further promote equity and equality at Allstate." The company will recognize the holiday on Friday, June 18.

Amazon

Amazon is sponsoring a number of events in recognition and celebration of the holiday, including the first-ever Juneteenth Unityfest, a national livestream event helmed by Grammy-nominated musician Robert Randolph. The event will feature musical performances, speeches, films and appearances by civic leaders.

The tech giant is also sponsoring Blk Freedom's 2021 Virtual Museum Experience, which features virtual tours of 10 African-American history museums.

Additionally, Prime Video will offer a selection of movies and series acknowledging Juneteenth, while Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star stores will highlight books on the history of the holiday.

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Apple

Apple will give employees the day off on Friday, June 18, in recognition of the national holiday. It will also offer a week-long range of programming for its employees "designed to educate, build community, and celebrate," according to CNBC. Retail stores and support centers remain open to assist customers.

Best Buy

The electronics retailer announced last year that it would begin recognizing Juneteenth as a paid company holiday this year, offering corporate employees a paid day off and hourly employees time-and-a-half.

"We are proud to honor Juneteenth and the centuries of struggle, pain, redemption and celebration it represents. We do this with the sincere hope that any employee who chooses to use this time as one of reflection, speech, protest or community service will be able to without worry or cost to them," theys said in a statement on their website.

Chipotle

In addition to educational programming for their employees, the fast casual chain is offering customers an opportunity to donate to Project 10X, an initiative created by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation "designed to upend the racial health, wealth and opportunity gaps" in America.

"[Customers] can round up with change to the next highest dollar amount when ordering from the Chipotle app or Chipotle.com," the company said via email, according to CNN.

Citi

Students from Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents nearly 500,000 students and alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, will take over the Citi Foundation's Instagram account on Saturday to honor the holiday.

The bank also offers a paid holiday, dubbed Heritage Day, which they implemented late last year, allowing employees to celebrate Juneteenth or any holiday of their choice "that is most meaningful to them," according to the company.

Facebook

The social media company will offer employees the chance to use one of their paid "Personal Choice Days" on Friday, June 18. In addition, employees can tune into the Juneteenth Day of Learning event, which will feature prominent figures including Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Tina Knowles-Lawson.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Opal Lee, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden

General Motors

A company spokesperson told CNN that they will offer programming around Juneteenth that will "focus on allyship and storytelling through volunteering and community engagement, hosting internal conversations about the history of Juneteenth, sharing thoughtful employee reflections on what this day means to them."

General Motors is also a sponsor of the Juneteenth Foundation's Freedom Festival, a two-day virtual event which will feature panels reflecting on the day's significance as well as a Freedom Concert.

Google

Google is encouraging employees to use the day for reflection and celebration, according to CNBC. The outlet reported that they are also offering a two-hour event "spotlighting Black music history and storytelling," which will feature a conversation and performance by Erykah Badu.

Home Depot

In addition to internal events designed to celebrate and recognize the cultural history of Juneteenth, The Home Depot Foundation will host a summer movie experience at The Home Depot Backyard in Atlanta on Friday, June 18. The event, which will "celebrate the magic of black culture, including art, live entertainment, music, food, dance and fun," features aerialist performances, an African dance and drums performance, a screening of Black Panther and more.

RELATED: Joe Biden Signs Bill Officially Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday: 'an Important Day'

Instacart

The grocery delivery and pick-up service will recognize Juneteenth as a paid corporate holiday for employees in the U.S. and Canada on Friday, June 18.

"We encourage our teams to use this day to reflect, listen, learn, and engage in critical conversations around racial injustice," Instacart Founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta wrote in a blog post.

Lyft

The rideshare company began recognizing Juneteenth as an official company holiday in 2020.

"We encourage team members to use this day to reflect, participate in civic engagement, or leverage anti-discrimination resources to deepen understanding of the work still needed to support the Black community." the company said in an email, according to USA Today.

RELATED VIDEO: The History and Celebration of Juneteenth

Microsoft

Rather than offering a day off, Microsoft is offering week-long programming to encourage employees to reflect and further educate themselves on the history and meaning of Juneteenth and racial injustice in the U.S. The events include talks with Black Women Talk Tech, BLK Men in Tech Conference and a "Day of Listening, Learning, and Engagement," intended to "deepen our understanding of the critical issues and challenges of systemic racism and acts of hate against the Black and African American community, and an opportunity for Microsoft to receive information on the most effective ways to prioritize allyship and engagement," according to their site.

Nike

In 2020, Nike began recognizing Juneteenth as an annual paid company holiday for its employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

"Across our Nike, Converse, and Jordan family, we will close our corporate, retail, manufacturing and distribution operations in observance of Juneteenth to provide educational opportunities that honor Black history and culture," a Nike spokeswoman told USA TODAY.

On June 18, the footwear manufacturing company's corporate offices and distribution centers will be closed; on June 19, Nike and Converse retail stores will be closed in honor of the holiday.

RELATED: What to Know About Opal Lee, the 'Grandmother of Juneteenth' Who Helped Make Holiday a Reality

The Smithsonian Channel

The Smithsonian Channel published a series of video essays about the holiday on June 16, featuring a range of prominent activists, writers, artists, community leaders and more. The videos will air on the Smithsonian Channel as well as the company's social media sites.

On June 19, the Smithsonian Channel will premiere a six-part docu-series called Boiling Point from 1pm to 11pm; the news piece explores the country's history of systemic racism and police brutality.

Starbucks

The global coffee chain is recognizing Juneteenth as a paid company holiday for the second year in a row. Hourly employees will receive time-and-a-half, while salaried employees unable to take the day off will receive a compensation day and support partners will receive a paid day off on June 19, the company said in an email, according to USA Today.

Dennis Brockman, global chief inclusion and diversity officer at Starbucks, said in a statement: "This was one of the many actions we've taken to promote an environment where our partners see and feel real progress."

Target

The retail giant began offering paid time off for Juneteenth in 2020, and will do the same this year, "providing team members with the opportunity to observe the day however they prefer, through education, service or celebration," the company said in a statement to USA Today.

Twitter

The social media company officially recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday in the U.S. in 2020, and will celebrate the holiday at work on June 18, while celebrating publicly on their website on June 19.

"On the platform we will engage in community and conversation, and we hope people will join us by using #Juneteenth and #HappyJuneteenth to unlock our custom emoji," the company said in an email, according to CNN. "We're also planning other activities on-platform with our community partners to amplify conversations around Juneteenth."

Verizon

The wireless network operator will allow employees the option to use their paid time off to celebrate Juneteenth.

"For employees who choose to work on Juneteenth, we celebrate and recognize Juneteenth company-wide through a series of employee events," Verizon told CNN Business via email.

The company will host an internal panel on June 18, aimed at exploring the historical significance of the holiday. Additionally, Verizon's Black Originators Leaders and Doers employee resource group is their own panel, which will highlight the contributions of Black women-owned businesses.

Wells Fargo

The financial services company will allow corporate employees to use an allotted personal holiday or paid day off to celebrate Juneteenth. Retail employees taking a paid day off require manager approval, the company told CNN via email.

The bank's Black and African-American Connection Employee Resource Network has been hosting programming around Juneteenth throughout week.

"We hope employees will take time to learn more about the significance of Juneteenth and consider what each of us can do to enrich the American experience for all people," the company told the outlet.

Yelp

The crowd-sourced reviews website will offer paid time off on Friday, June 18, in recognition of the holiday, in addition to internal educational events.

The company's chief diversity officer, Miriam Warren, told USA TODAY, "Myself and other Yelp executives conducted a series of listening sessions to hear from our Black employees and discovered the areas where we can and must do better. Stemming from those conversations, we realized the importance of giving our employees the space to observe Juneteenth as a global paid holiday."