• Nike joins Twitter, Square and Vox in declaring June 19 as a paid company holiday
  • Juneteenth marks the end of African American slavery during the Confederate 
  • These companies are also setting up programs aimed at African American communities and racial inequality education

Several companies are officially making Juneteenth (June 19) an annual paid holiday for their workers.

Nike's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Donahoe told employees in a memo issued Thursday (June 11) that the day marking Freedom Day, or the last day African Americans were enslaved in the Confederacy in 1865, will be a paid vacation day. Social media platform Twitter, mobile payment service Square and digital media Vox are planning the same incentive.

"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," Donohoe declared in his message to the employees. "Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand.”

Nike will also launch a diversity education program sometime between June 19 and July 4, America's Independence Day, to ensure workers will be aware of issues related to racial inequality.

Nike joins Twitter and other companies in declaring Juneteenth as a paid company holiday. Creative Commons

Early this June, the company made a $40-million pledge toward programs for black communities and organizations that support racial inequality education. Nike endorser and NBA legend Michael Jordan donated $100 million to the same cause.

The sports brand has addressed the issue of racism before. The company supported Colin Kaepernick when he kneeled during the national anthem at the NFL games to protest the treatment of minorities. Nike worked with Kaepernick in a series of advertisements in 2018 despite threats of boycotts from the consumers.

Meanwhile, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey said Tuesday (June 10) his companies will ecognize Juneteenth as a company holiday in the United States "forevermore." He urged other regions where Twitter and Square operate to recognize a day celebrating emancipation.

"We will do the work to make those dates company holidays," Dorsey said.

Aside from recognizing Juneteeth as a company holiday, Vox Media will launch a fellowship program for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and members of the National Association of Black Journalists. CEO Jim Bankoff said in a statement this is just the beginning as he welcomes more ideas from Vox employees to build "a more equitable and just society."