Target Corp. has moved to establish Juneteenth, the June 19 celebration of the emancipation of African-Americans from slavery, as an official company holiday as more companies continue to adjust their internal policies in the wake of widespread protests on racial equity.

While all stores and distribution centers will remain open on Friday, full-time hourly team members will have the option to take the day off with full pay. Hourly employees who decide to work that day will be paid time and a half. The Minneapolis headquarters offices will be closed in observance.

“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,” says Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive of Target, 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,” he said.

There has been a national push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, a campaign that has intensified in the wake of the case of George Floyd who died in the custody of Minneapolis Police last month and ignited global demonstrations on equality and police brutality.

Target joins several other companies that have announced the move to recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday including Twitter, Nike and Minneapolis-based employee scheduling software company When I Work.

The holiday (a mash-up of the words June and 19th) celebrates June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army informed slaves in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished.

Minneapolis has been home to one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country.

At Target, Juneteenth is now observed in addition to six other paid holidays.

The Juneteenth announcement follows Target’s pledge of $10 million to social justice organizations as well as community rebuilding efforts.


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