This Friday, June 19, many tech companies will commemorate Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. Due to a surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism efforts, Juneteenth is finally getting widespread recognition — especially in the tech world.
Here is what Big Tech is doing to honor the holiday.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is this Friday, June 19, and celebrates the day that news of the Civil War’s end reached Texas, making all enslaved African Americans free. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law on January 1, 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that the news finally reached the last Confederate state following the end of the war.
While Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, though 47 states and Washington, D.C., have made it an official state holiday. Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota have yet to make Juneteenth a holiday.
The mass publicity the holiday is getting is a direct result of the widespread protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police officers. Many companies have also pledged to make the day an official company holiday, some for the first time, while others are encouraging employees to take the day to learn and educate themselves about the holiday.
Who is celebrating Juneteenth?
The website HellaJuneteenth encourages more U.S. employers to take the day off to learn, donate, and support the Black community. The site offers a list of events around the country to participate in, as well as encourages people to use the hashtag ##hellajuneteenth to show solidarity in taking the day off.
Here’s a running list of tech companies that have publicly committed to observing or commemorating Juneteenth:
Twitter and Square
Twitter was one of the first big tech companies to support Juneteenth publicly. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the following on June 9: “Both Twitter and Square are making #Juneteenth (June 19th) a company holiday in the U.S., forevermore. A day for celebration, education, and connection.”
Employees at Twitter and Square have the day off.
The ridesharing app announced Juneteenth as a companywide holiday, tweeting: “We celebrate Juneteenth because Black lives matter.”
Employees at Postmates have the day off on Friday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth. CEO Bastin Lehmann said that Juneteenth will be a permanent company holiday.
VSCO announced a companywide holiday for Juneteenth.
Adobe told employees they would have June 19 off as a day “to focus on reflection and advocacy.”
Eventbrite employees also have the day off. “We are committed to racial justice, supporting the global Black Lives Matter movement, and stand in solidarity with our Black Britelings and creators everywhere,” the company said in a tweet.
Not only is Spotify making Juneteenth a company holiday, but the music streaming service pledged to exclusively feature Black artists from June 19 to 26 for its New Music Friday playlist.
All full-time U.S. employees have the day off to “listen, learn, share, and reflect.”
The Chicago-based food delivery service is giving its full-time employees the day off. Delivery drivers, who are contractors, will still work on Friday.
TikTok has officially made Juneteenth a company holiday.
The streaming service has curated a “More than a Movement” playlist of movie and TV titles about the Black experience. The new category can be found under Netflix’s “Genre” tab.
Facebook has pledging to donate $19 for every user who creates a Juneteenth fundraiser on Facebook. The company will continue donating up to $5 million or until June 20. The company also told its employees to cancel all meetings and commemorate Juneteenth “with a day of learning.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos encouraged employees to cancel meetings on Friday in honor of Juneteenth. Instead of making it a company holiday, the retail tech giant will offer its employees a “range of online learning opportunities” on Friday.
Google added Juneteenth as an official U.S. holiday to its Google Calendar and instructed employees to cancel any meetings.
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