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Nike declares Juneteenth a company holiday

Thomas Barrabi

Nike will recognize Juneteenth as a paid company holiday starting this year as part of the company’s efforts to address racial inequality following George Floyd’s death in police custody, CEO John Donahoe said in an internal memo to employees Thursday.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Aside from the company holiday, Donahoe said Nike will establish a taskforce to address issues of race in its workplace.

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“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,” Donahoe said in the memo, which was first obtained by Bloomberg. “Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand.”

Nike is the latest of several companies to make Juneteenth a paid holiday in recent days. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and payments firm Square, said earlier this week that both of his companies would recognize Juneteenth.

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Earlier this month, Nike pledged $40 million toward programs aiming to support black communities and end racial injustice. The funding will be “focused on investing in and supporting organizations that put social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America at the center of their work.”

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NBA legend Michael Jordan partnered with Nike’s Jordan Brand to donate an additional $100 million.

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