It has been announced that Nike plans to recognize Juneteenth as an official paid holiday. According to Yahoo Finance, Nike CEO John Donahue announced the news in an internal memo to staff.
Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19th, marks the day a group of Texas slaves were made aware of their freedom, two years after they were proclaimed free.
Donahue stated in the email, “As many of you may know, next Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. Starting this year and going forward, Nike will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday in the U.S. Donahoe also wrote that the current environment presented an “important opportunity is to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”
He continued, “When we say that Black Lives Matter, it applies to the world outside of Nike and, importantly, it applies to our Black teammates within Nike. Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand."
He added, “I strongly believe that focusing on a more diverse and inclusive culture for our Black teammates does not take away from our commitment to build a more diverse and inclusive culture for all groups inside Nike. It is not zero sum. In fact, most of the actions that we must take are consistent with what is required for everyone.”
In addition, Nike will launch several wide-ranging initiatives, including maintaining diversity representation among employees and to invest in employee professional development. The company also promised to launch a diversity education program, which will cover topics relating to racial inequality.