Nike just did it: Juneteenth is now a paid company holiday.
The sportswear giant added June 19, the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery, to its list of annual official days off, CNN Business reported. Twitter, Square and Vox Media also have designated the date as a holiday.
Nike announced the decision Thursday in a letter to employees, which also laid out a host of other actions it is planning in response to the nationwide protests against racial injustice.
“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 wrote, adding the observance of Juneteenth is an opportunity “to better commemorate and celebrate Black history and culture.”
Although Nike has depended on black athletes to build its brand, Donahoe acknowledged the company needs to do better by its black employees.
The company’s African American workers feel “a disconnect between our external brand and your internal experience,” Donahoe wrote.
“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.”
Donahoe told workers that Nike’s board and executive team will diversify the company’s workforce and will measure the progress of hiring more black, Latinx and female employees.
Nike didn’t specify the targets for diversity, CNN Business reported. Competitor Adidas is promising to fill at least 30% of its new positions with black or Latinx workers.