Business leaders honor Juneteenth amid renewed conversation around race

While some organizations like Twitter and Slack gave employees the day off to mark the end of slavery in the U.S., others like Amazon encouraged workers to use the day at work for education and reflection.

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Many organizations are marking a previously ignored holiday in America: June 19th or Juneteenth, the day slavery finally ended in the U.S.

The history of the holiday stems from how emancipation was enacted across the country in the wake of the Civil War. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation becoming law Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn’t until June 19th, 1865, that Union forces were able to finally overcome resistance in Galveston, Texas, and free the slaves there.

The celebration spread from Texas and has become an important marker in the history of the U.S., though the holiday hasn’t been prominently discussed until recently.

Now many U.S. businesses are marking the day in the wake of protests and conversations around racial justice, racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A moment for reflection

Twitter was the first organization that said it would give employees a day off to mark the historic day. Jack Dorsey tweeted about the decision:

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