Target makes Juneteenth a company holiday

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A shopping basket sits in an aisle at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO – Target announced Monday that it will formally recognize Juneteenth, the annual holiday on June 19 that commemorates the date Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War was over and all enslaved people were now free.

While all stores and distribution centers will remain open, hourly employees who work on June 19 will be paid time-and-a-half, a statement on the company’s website reads. All eligible team members will also have the option to take the day off, with full pay.

Headquarter offices will remain closed in observance, KRON reports.

The holiday is the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, and its been the subject of particular focus this year as the Black Lives Matter movement sweeps the country. President Donald Trump decided to move a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma after being criticized for scheduling it on June 19.

“We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” said Brian Cornell, the chairman and CEO of Target.

“Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”

Additionally, Target said it is donating $10 million to advance social justice and support rebuilding and recovery efforts in local communities.

The Atlanta Hawks basketball also designated Juneteenth as a permanent paid company holiday for all of its employees over the weekend.

“I am proud of the decision our organization has made to recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday this year and going forward,” said Camye Mackey, Chief People, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena. “This is one of many steps we’ll take to support the positive change we need to see in society.”

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