Companies Continue Steps to Address Racial Inequality; Celebrate Juneteenth

Jun 19, 2020 12:15 PM ET

Companies Continue Steps to Address Racial Inequality; Celebrate Juneteenth

Over the past few weeks, we have reported on how companies are addressing the growing demand for social justice through communications and, more importantly, action. Americans are making it loud and clear that now is the time for change. In response, companies have confronted racism and embraced feedback when they have misstepped. This week we will examine companies that are honoring Black history by making Juneteenth a company holiday:

  • Twitter was one of the first companies to announce that it will be making Juneteenth a permanent company holiday. But not just in the U.S., Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey,  pointed out how other countries celebrate their individual emancipations and they will “do the work” to ensure Juneteenth is a company holiday everywhere they have the reach. 
  • Nike has recently been in the spotlight after releasing its ‘Just Don’t Do It’ ad, receiving backlash for lack of diversity on the board and a disconnect between their Black employees’ experiences and  outward communications. Nike’s CEO responded that he will work to “get their house in order” – and one of the first steps from the brand was to make Juneteenth a companywide holiday "to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture."
  • Target has been praised for its representative diversity in the past, and the brand continues to grow with the social justice movement by making Juneteenth a corporate holiday. It will offer store employees time and a half, close its corporate headquarters, and eligible employees have the choice of taking a fully paid day off. They committed to making Juneteenth an annual holiday “to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities”.

Juneteenth is a visible way a company can show its support for the Black community, but there’s fear these performative statements are just that, statements. In fact, our own research shows 74 percent of Americans are concerned companies will move on to the next issue without making the changes they promised to address racial inequalities. While companies honoring Juneteenth is a substantial step in a just direction, this is only one moment in time. There is a need for a sustained action to continue addressing systemic racial inequality well past June 19, 2020. Today is an important day for the Black community to celebrate freedom in both solemn and joyful ways. But this is much more than a day, week or month. These strides must be incorporated 365 days of the year.

Porter Novelli is closed today to observe Juneteenth.