June 19 becomes Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas and famously read General Orders No. 3, which stated, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Nike, Inc. has also adopted Juneteenth as a paid annual holiday for U.S. and Puerto Rican-based employees, confirms Jenna Golden, Nike’s director of communications for North America.
“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,” Golden notes in an email.
Lyft, the ride share company, honors Juneteenth with a paid holiday for corporate employees, according to Ashley Adams, a spokesperson. However, Lyft drivers are independent contractors and manage their own schedules.
Some media companies, such as Vox and NPR, have also added Juneteenth as a paid company holiday.
This will be the second year Vox employees observe the holiday, “to encourage learning and sharing,” says spokesperson Andi Rogoff. The media office will be closed on June 18.
NPR will also observe the paid holiday on Friday 18, though employees who have to work the holiday will get paid time and a half, an NPR spokesperson confirmed.
The reaction to the news of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday has been widely accepted online by the likes of actress Kerry Washington and Beyonce’s mother Tina Knowles.
156 years later and #Juneteenth is becoming a Federal Holiday
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) June 16, 2021
— Don Harmon (@HarmonForSenate) June 16, 2021
— RAW – Resident Association of the Westside (@RAWneighbors) June 16, 2021
Red, white and blue are used in the #Juneteenth flag as a reminder that slaves and their descendants are Americans. The flag also represents freedom, new beginnings, and a new horizon for Black Americans throughout the land. #GoodNeighbor pic.twitter.com/uarNZyujhA
— Aaron Kilgore (@askilgore_aaron) June 16, 2021