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.”