The Atlanta Hawks will now designate Juneteenth as a permanent paid company holiday for all its employees. The decision comes as many organizations are identifying specific ways to thoughtfully recognize and honor the full experience of African Americans in the shadow of the country’s on-going racial tensions.
According to juneteenth.com, this holiday is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery on January 1, 1863.
“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.”