Target will now recognize Juneteenth as an official company holiday, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced Tuesday.
The company said it plans to honor "the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States" and will give team members "space to honor Juneteenth in their own way. "
“We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, said in a statement. “Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”
As part of the move, stores and distribution centers will remain open, but the company's headquarters offices will be closed. Hourly team members who work on June 19 will be paid time and a half and all eligible employees also have the option to take the day off with full pay.
Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is an annual celebration marking the end of the slavery in the U.S. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.