News & Politics

How DC-Area Companies Will Commemorate Juneteenth

Some local employers have already begun to honor June 19, which is poised to become a federal holiday.

The Juneteenth Flag. Photo via iStock.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would officially recognize Juneteenth, the anniversary of the last slaves being freed in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, as a federal holiday. The bill still has to pass the House.

Juneteenth’s growth from a Texas tradition to a national one accelerated during and after last year’s reckoning over race. Virginia passed legislation last summer to make June 19 a state holiday. Currently, Maryland and DC—where April 16 has been a public holiday for Emancipation Day since 2005—commemorate Juneteenth, though it’s not a holiday.

Many Washington-area companies have begun to build a Juneteenth tradition. Here is how some plan to commemorate the day this year:

Capital One

The McLean-based bank announced it will permanently recognize Juneteenth as an official company holiday. This year, corporate offices in the United States will close on Friday, June 18, and all branches will be closed on Saturday, June 19. Last year, the bank locations closed early on Juneteenth to give “associates the time to reflect.”

Custom Ink

All “Inkers” are given four hours of paid leave to observe Juneteenth, and the custom clothing company’s offices will close by 1 PM on Friday.

Dcode

The tech-innovation company is sharing resources all month long about the significance of Juneteenth, how to serve the local community, and ways to celebrate, reflect, and learn. Dcode hosts monthly diversity, equity, and inclusion discussions, and June’s topic is teaching the team about biases. Additionally, Dcode is hosting its first event of the year at Black-owned Cork Wine Bar & Market in honor of Juneteenth.

Network for Victim Recovery of DC

A resource for victims of sexual assault, NVRDC is hosting a two-hour workshop titled “Land, Loss, and Liberation!” on Friday with professors from the University of the District of Columbia. Staff will also get a paid holiday on Monday, June 21, in observance of Juneteenth.

Vox Media

Since last year, Juneteenth is a company-wide holiday at the digital media company. Vox Media’s office will be closed on Friday, and a slate of summer-long programming kicked off this week. Programs include events hosted by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and BOLD Employee Resource Group, which is dedicated to Black employees and allies. A company book club is reading On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed, and employees and partners are invited to a live recording of the Vox Conversations podcast.

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