Nike Adds Juneteenth as Company Holiday

June 17, 2020

Nike will now be offering its employees a paid company holiday for Juneteenth.

The sportswear giant joined several companies that announced June 19, the oldest known U.S. celebration of the end of slavery, is officially an annual day off.

The New York Post reported that Vox Media, Square, and Twitter also gave its employees the paid holiday.

In a letter to employees, Nike announced the decision, which also included a plan to combat racial injustice as the nation still protests against police brutality.

“At Nike, Inc., we aspire to be a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture. We want to be better than society as a whole,” CEO John Donahoe said.

Donahoe added that observing the holiday is an opportunity “to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”

The CEO wrote that the company’s African American employees feel “a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience.”

“You have told me that we have not consistently supported, recognized, and celebrated our own Black teammates in a manner they deserve,” he said. “This needs to change.”

Donahoe said that Nike’s board and the executive team would hire more black, female, and Latinx employees all across the company.

As Nike pledges to combat racial injustice, other companies have released statements.

Sephora has become the first major retailer to sign the "Fifteen Percent Pledge." The pledge asks retailers to give at least 15% shelf space to black-owned brands.

"We were inspired to make the Fifteen Percent Pledge because we believe it’s the right thing to do, for our clients, our industry and for our community," Artemis Patrick, chief merchandising officer at Sephora said in a statement

Aurora James, founder of the fashion brand Brother Vellies, started the movement to ensure black people were represented at major retailers. She's reached out to large organizations, including Sephora, Whole Foods, Target, and Shopbop, to take the pledge.

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