Juneteenth — short for "June Nineteenth" — commemorates the freeing of enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865

By Jason Duaine Hahn
June 09, 2020 06:20 PM
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Jack Dorsey
Scott Olson/Getty

Twitter and Square employees in the United States will now honor Juneteenth — a day that commemorates the freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865 — as a company holiday moving forward, CEO Jack Dorsey announced on social media.

The 43-year-old's decision comes amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer who forcibly kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Dorsey said the holiday will mark a time of "celebration, education, and connection" for employees at the two companies, he detailed in a pair of tweets posted on Tuesday afternoon.

"Both Twitter and Square are making #Juneteenth (June 19th) a company holiday in the US, forevermore," Dorsey tweeted.

"Countries and regions around the world have their own days to celebrate emancipation, and we will do the work to make those dates company holidays everywhere we are present," he added.

Juneteenth — short for "June Nineteenth" — is a nationally celebrated holiday that marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

According to Juneteenth.com, it was on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas, and informed slaves they were free.

But Granger's announcement in Galveston came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation — which freed all slaves in the Confederate states — went into effect.

Since the Union did not have a strong presence in Texas at the time, the Emancipation Proclamation was not widely enforced. It wasn't until General Robert E. Lee's surrender in April 1865 and Granger's arrival that the Union was able to impose the law, the website said.

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Dorsey has been active in addressing national issues and announced in April that he was transferring $1 billion of his Square equity to a limited liability company that will provide relief for victims of coronavirus and then shift to girls’ health and education.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.