Hi there! This is your employer here. Just wanted to take a moment to express how much we value our Black employees at this company. Up until two years ago, everything seemed to be going just fine in terms of race relations in America. But after the murder of George Floyd and the protests for social justice that took place during the summer of 2020, we suddenly realized that we could be doing much more to help the Black community.
We brainstormed several different ways that we could better support our Black employees. We looked into conducting a salary review to make sure our Black employees are paid equitably compared to their White counterparts. We looked into giving financial support to causes that benefit the Black community. And we even looked into stocking the employee break room with Sprite, Hot Cheetos, and pork skins, which wouldn’t necessarily promote economic justice, but might at least improve morale a little bit.
Well, after much consideration, we’re happy to announce that, instead of doing any of those things, we’ll be giving everyone at our company Juneteenth off as a paid holiday!
Who wants to be burdened for 365 days of the year thinking about the oppression Black folks have to deal with when you can cover it all in 24 hours?
We’ll be the first to admit that we had never even heard of Juneteenth until two years ago. But once we did, we could think of no better way to achieve economic justice for Black Americans than to give folks in our company an additional eight hours of paid vacation once a year. The committee of Black employees that we assembled—who graciously volunteered their time to educate us on ways we could support Black America—pitched a number of different options for ways to substantially contribute to fighting systemic inequality. And even though making Juneteenth a company holiday was #276 out of 300 on their “Impact List,” we decided to go with that one because it sounded like the most fun. And who doesn’t like a couple extra hours per annum to distract them from all the inequity in the world?
Of course, not all employees will be able to take Juneteenth off. The folks in IT, sales, and customer service will still have to come in. After all, those calls don’t answer themselves! Still, anyone in one of the cushier departments in the company like corporate or legal will have all of Juneteenth to do with what they will.
But don’t think Juneteenth is going to just be a regular day off without any reflection or contemplation. We’re pleased to announce that we’ll have a series of seminars so that our employees can really engage with each other and learn about this important day. At 8:30 a.m., we’ll have a panel discussion from several prominent White thought leaders on how White people can respectfully join in on Juneteenth festivities. And that will be followed by 10:30 a.m. Spiritual Karaoke, where our head of HR, Becky Zowalski, will lead an employee-wide, hour-long, continuously looping singalong of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” These will, of course, be mandatory to make sure every employee is part of the conversation.
The great thing about having a holiday specifically dedicated to commemorating the struggles Black Americans have faced is that it’s the perfect opportunity to squeeze all of our thoughts and discussions on social justice into a single day! Who wants to be burdened for 365 days of the year thinking about the oppression Black folks have to deal with when you can cover it all in 24 hours? It’s so nice being able to just get all of that difficult stuff out of the way all at once, which makes Juneteenth a perfect addition to our company initiatives celebrating Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, AAPI Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, and Pride Month.
So, folks, enjoy the day off, rest, recuperate, and get re-energized so that you can come into the office bright and early on Tuesday. You’ll have a lot of emails to catch up on.