Juneteenth Is Now A Company Holiday At Twitter And Square: Jack Dorsey

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Written by Ann Brown
Juneteenth
Juneteenth is now a company holiday at Twitter and Square, CEO Jack Dorsey declared in a recent tweet. Square CEO Jack Dorsey is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, commemorates the day when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Texas, two-and-a-half years after it became law.

Emancipation became official on Jan. 1, 1863, but word of the proclamation, which freed Black slaves, didn’t reach Texas until June 19, 1865. Juneteenth is celebrated by African-American communities across the country as independence day.

Now Juneteenth will be a company holiday at Jack Dorsey’s Silicon Valley-based social media company Twitter and mobile payment firm Square, CNBC reported.

“We will do the work to make those dates company holidays everywhere we are present,” Dorsey wrote.

Twitter has 4,900 employees and Square has 3,835 employees as of 2019.

Some feel that making Juneteenth a company holiday is an empty gesture and Dorsey should work more on increasing the number of Black people in his staff, executive suites and board room.

“Jack could celebrate Juneteenth by employing more black men and women … As recently as 2019, twitter says they want to increase black employment from 2% to 3%. Empty words,” one person tweeted.

Other tech companies such as Apple Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Intel Corp., and Cisco Systems Inc., have pledges money to nonprofit social-justice organizations and civil rights causes, Market Watch reported.

So far, 47 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, but a move to make it a national holiday has stalled in Congress, The New York Times reported.

There is, however, an ongoing push in Chicago to make Juneteenth a paid city holiday. Forty out of 50 Chicago aldermen in November 2019 co-sponsored an ordinance that would make it a paid city holiday on which all local government office buildings would be closed.

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The proposal was introduced by Alderman Maria Hadden and Alderman David Moore, the Chicago Crusader reported.

“It is not enough for the City of Chicago to have just parades, barbeques, and events celebrating Juneteenth. Chicago must recognize Juneteenth as an official city holiday, which will help support the campaign to recognize ‘Juneteenth National Freedom Day’ as a national holiday,” the proposal stated.

While there has not been any movement on Ordinance O2019-9156, as of the beginning of the year, Hadden is still pushing it forward.