Washington Post employees are welcome to take the day off on Juneteenth, according to a memo that Publisher Fred Ryan sent employees Friday.
“The last few months has been stressful and exhausting, and the heartbreaking last couple of weeks has only compounded feelings of anger and sadness,” Ryan writes. “We feel it, and we know our black colleagues feel it even more acutely.” The approach of Juneteenth, which memorializes the formal emancipation of enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865, Ryan writes, is “an appropriate and symbolic moment to provide time for reflection on all that has happened.”
Any Post employee whose position does not allow them to take the day off will have the option of taking off another day over the next year, Ryan writes.
More media companies have begun to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday this year, a result of the national reckoning on race that followed George Floyd’s death. The New York Times, Vox Media, BuzzFeed, and the 19th have all recognized the date as a holiday, as has Twitter.
Dear Washington Post colleagues,
The last few months has been stressful and exhausting, and the heartbreaking last couple of weeks has only compounded feelings of anger and sadness. We feel it, and we know our black colleagues feel it even more acutely.
With Juneteenth coming next week, we felt this was an appropriate and symbolic moment to provide time for reflection on all that has happened. Therefore, on Friday, June 19, we are giving all Washington Post employees the option to take the day off. If you elect not to take the day off or if your position is one that requires you to work that day, you will have the option of taking another day off over the next 12 months.
As much time as has passed in the more than 150 years since the day the last slaves were freed in the United States, we are reminded that we are far from achieving racial equality in our country. And while The Post has long worked to build a diverse workforce, we also know there is more to be done—and we are committed to doing it. You will be hearing more from us in the coming days on that front, and we hope to hear more from you, too.