SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Tuesday that Juneteenth, June 19, will be a holiday for employees at both companies.
He made the announcement on Twitter saying, "A day for celebration, education, and connection." He said the holiday will be honored every year moving forward.
The tweet included a link to Juneteenth.com.
He added that "countries and regions around the world have their own days to celebrate emancipation, and we will do the work to make those dates company holidays everywhere we are present."
The decision comes as companies balance how to fight racism and support black employees in the wake of George Floyd's death and the protests across the country demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Juneteenth, June 19th, is the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the United States was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in January of 1863. However, it took much longer for news to spread. So, this news didn’t reach slaves in Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. Union General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to African-Americans.
Those slaves were so happy about their freedom that they started dancing and celebrating, and generations have celebrated on June 19 ever since.
The name Juneteenth just comes from a blending of the date. The holiday is an opportunity to cherish freedom, but it’s also an opportunity to remember.