Juneteenth, which takes place on June 19 and marks the end of slavery in the United States, will be recognized as a paid company holiday for Nike employees in the U.S. starting this year.
An internal memo was sent out by current CEO John Donahoe to the Swoosh's staff and acquired by Yahoo Finance today. "As many of you may know, next Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S," Donahoe wrote in the message. "Starting this year and going forward, Nike will recognize Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday in the U.S."
Donahoe continued to echo his sentiments on racial inequality by saying "When we say that Black Lives Matter, it applies to the world outside of Nike and, importantly, it applies to our Black teammates within Nike. Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand."
Along with recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday, the brand is launching a new diversity education program that will take place between June 19 to July 4 where programming and learning opportunities will be available to all employees on topics related to racial inequality. "Our expectation is that each of us uses this time to continue to educate ourselves and challenge our perspectives and learn. I know that is what I intend to do," says Donahoe.
Last week, Nike announced a joint $40 million donation with its subsidiary brands including Converse and Jordan Brand in support of Black communities in America.