U.S. President Joe Biden is applauded as he holds the Juneteenth Nationwide Independence Day Act throughout a signing ceremony within the East Room of the White Home in Washington, June 17, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Massive tech firms will observe Juneteenth by providing schooling assets throughout the week of the newly-official U.S. vacation.
President Biden signed a invoice to make Juneteenth a federal vacation on Thursday afternoon. The vacation, which lands on June nineteenth yearly, commemorates the ending of slavery within the U.S.
Tech firms’ reactions come after a 12 months of racial reckoning and elevated scrutiny of recruiting practices and therapy of Black staff. Some, like Twitter and Sq., started recognizing the vacation final 12 months.
“Juneteenth is not only about Black Historical past—it’s American historical past” and a “complicated” one, mentioned Dr. Tiffany Bowden, program supervisor on Amazon’s International Variety, Fairness, and Inclusion crew in an organization Juneteenth weblog publish.
“Whereas rejoicing in progress, we should proceed to coach ourselves about our historical past to assist information our future,” the Amazon weblog acknowledged. “We honor those that fought, endured, and proceed to persevere within the struggle for equality. We have a good time with the notice that advocacy continues to be needed in America’s pursuit of equality and, finally, fairness.”
To commemorate Juneteenth, Google has “instituted a no meetings day” on Friday June 18 and is “encouraging all Googlers to use this day for celebration, learning and reflection,” according to a spokesperson.
Facebook said its workers can use one of their paid “Personal Choice Days” if they want to celebrate the holiday. Employees can also participate in “a day of discussions” with known activists and public figures, including Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Tina Knowles-Lawson “who will share perspectives on the history and significance of Juneteenth.”
“A lot of meetings have been canceled so folks can go to that,” a Facebook spokesperson added.
Apple said it recognizes Juneteenth as a company holiday in the U.S. and gives employees the day off to observe on Friday, June 18. Apple Retail and AppleCare will remain open to support customers. The company said employees can participate in week-long events that are “designed to educate, build community, and celebrate.”
Black storytelling and education
Companies will also provide educational material on racial injustice to employees.
“Our approach is not to offer a vacation day; but instead use this day to create time and space for employees to better understand critical topics related to race, ethnicity and racial injustice,” said Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Microsoft’s Chief Diversity Officer. “Recognizing this day with intention allows us to stay connected to the many challenges unresolved, violence unaddressed, and inequities unchanged for the Black and African American community worldwide.”
Microsoft did not specify what learning programs will be offered.
Google said it’s going to host a two-hour event “spotlighting Black music history and storytelling” including a conversation and performance by Ms. Erykah Badu.
Amazon’s programming includes educational panels regarding the origins and importance of Juneteenth, remarks from Black History experts and a performance and Q&A with African-American Dancers of New York dance studio The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Facebook said it will feature a video by businesswoman (and mother to Beyoncé) Tina Knowles-Lawson and a “Lift Black Voices Hub” that includes curated mix of fundraisers, educational resources and “content that showcases how communities are reimagining Black freedom on Facebook platforms every day.”
Amazon will sponsor an inaugural celebration called Juneteenth Unityfest. Its bookstore will highlight a selection of books that show the history of Juneteenth in a feature called “Celebrate Juneteenth.” It also said Prime Video has a curated selection of movies and series to acknowledge and honor Juneteenth.
Watch now: President Biden signs Juneteenth National Independence Day Act