Juneteenth commemorates the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation nominally ended slavery. Also known as Freedom Day or Liberation Day, it’s a portmanteau of June and nineteenth. People celebrate with a cookout of red foods like barbecue, red velvet cake, and strawberry soda, as the color holds deep symbolism in Black history.
Juneteenth is still not recognized as a federal holiday, but many brands have taken a stand by adopting Juneteenth as a company one. In fact, 2020 saw a movement called #HellaJuneteenth which identified participating brands.
Read on to discover 7 of these brands below.
7 Brands that Support Juneteenth in 2021
In 2020, Nike declared Juneteenth an annual company holiday. This came as part of a broader commitment to inclusion and representation. They also pledged $40 million to invest in the Black community over a four year period, including partnerships with the NAACP Empowerment Programs, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and Black Girls CODE.
Black athletes have played a critical role in Nike’s success as a sports apparel and footwear brand, a sentiment reflected by CEO John Donahue in a company-wide memo: “Simply put, we need to hold ourselves to a high standard given the heritage of our company and our brand.”
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Shiseido Americas is the U.S. arm of Japanese cosmetics company SHISEIDO. They’re also the parent company of prestige beauty brands like NARS and bareMinerals. Last June they made Juneteenth a company holiday, and will continue to for all years going forward. In an internal memo last June, CEO Marc Rey wrote that U.S. employees would get the day off for reflection and self-education.
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Glossier has renewed their Grant Program for Black-Owned Beauty Businesses. As part of Glossier’s $10 million commitment to equity and inclusion, the program awards $50,000 in funding and six months of mentorship to select entrepreneurs. This year they’re expanding it to provide even more support, like alumni programming that connects old and new grantees.
Black startup founders face many barriers trying to raise capital in a biased playing field, a problem only compounded by misogynoir. In a blog post announcing the renewal, Senior Manager of Impact Roya Shariat wrote, “We created the Grant Program last year with the vision of driving equity in beauty by supporting the next generation of industry-defining leaders.”
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LOLA makes organic period and sexual wellness products based on ingredient transparency. In a 2020 letter, LOLA’s co-founders reflected on the state of inclusion at the company and what steps they would take to align their mission and impact.
In addition to closing their offices for Juneteenth, they added a day of PTO for employees who want to protest, volunteer, or self-educate. They also pledged to use their platform to address racial disparities in reproductive health.
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Estée Lauder Companies, the parent corporation of brands like Clinique, La Mer, and Estée Lauder, has adopted Juneteenth as a permanent holiday in the United States. Notably, they also recognize Emancipation Day for their Canadian employees.
An August 2020 letter shared the company’s commitment to anti-racism within the organization, including a full complexion assessment across brands to ensure inclusive product colors.
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Skillshare is a learning hub offering online classes in subjects like animation, writing, music, and interior design. In 2020, they made June 19 a permanent staff holiday. As part of their Juneteenth observance, Skillshare interviewed three Black instructors — Yasmine Cheyenne, Vashti Harrison, and Justin Bridges — on what the day means to them.
Harrison, an illustrator and author, spoke to the importance of making this more than a moment: “Going forward, I want to simply normalize Black voices and Black history, so we can begin to see it for what it always has been: part of the fabric of the American story.”
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Tapestry, Inc., the parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, made Juneteenth an annual paid holiday last June. They’ve continued to make anti-racism a priority, announcing a partnership with the Black in Fashion Council in February 2021. Their subsidiary Coach has taken action to redress voter suppression—which disproportionately affects Black citizens—with a campaign called #CoachTheVote.
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How You Can Support Juneteenth
There are ways you can support the efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, as well as contribute to the meaning behind the day:
- Buy Black: This puts money directly into the hands of Black business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve.
- Speak up: Use your platform to help legitimize Juneteenth in the eyes of your peers.
- Contact your local legislators to let them know where you stand.
- Sign and share this petition from Change.org.
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