Nike to Honor Juneteenth as a Paid Holiday for US Employees

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Nike announced that it will honor Juneteenth as a paid holiday for US employees.

Today, Nike CEO John Donahoe sent a company-wide memo that stated the company will honor Juneteenth as a paid holiday for US employees, according to Forbes.

Donahue became CEO in January and stated that recognizing the holiday is an “important opportunity to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.” Other companies such as Twitter and Square also recently announced plans to make Juneteenth a holiday. June 19 celebrates the end of slavery in the US. “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,” said Donahoe.

The company also announced that it was launching a diversity education program next week that will offer two weeks of programming and learning opportunities for employees. "Our expectation is that each of us use this time to continue to educate ourselves and challenge our perspectives and learn,” said Donahue. Furthermore, Nike plans to ensure that black, latino, and women are represented at Nike.

“As I have listened deeply during my first six months and over the past few weeks, what I have learned is that many have felt a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience,” Donahoe said. “You have told me that we have not consistently supported, recognized and celebrated our own Black teammates in a manner they deserve. This needs to change.”

Last week, Nike pledged $40 million to support the black community in the US. Global protests sparked after George Floyd was murdered in custody by police officers. Nike has been committed to change since allegations of inappropriate behavior towards women emerged in 2018. Former CEO Mark Parker committed to making the company, “a place where everyone can thrive in an environment of respect, empathy, and equal opportunity for all.”

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