Corporate executives and celebrities are rallying behind calls to make Juneteenth a nationwide paid holiday.
Juneteenth, or June 19, is a day to commemorate the end of slavery. It marks the date when a Union army general arrived in Galveston, Texas to impose the Emancipation Proclamation.
“As Americans we love and we appreciate Independence Day, but when July 4th, 1776 took place, the only ones that were free from the British monarchy were our white brothers,” Pharrell Williams said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Monday. “The white sisters could not vote. The Native Americans, where we get this land from, they were not free, and certainly, the African Americans, women and men, we didn’t have our freedom.”
The Grammy-winning vocalist, television host Ellen DeGeneres, “Black-ish” developer Kenya Barris and CNN’s Van Jones are dealing with Global Citizen and consulting firm Teneo to help motivate business and state federal governments to acknowledge Juneteenth as a paid vacation.
“For us, we feel like the day that we were freed, everyone was freed,” Williams said. “So why not make that a paid holiday? We deserve that, you know?”
He worried that the movement to make Juneteenth a holiday is not attempting to detract from the Fourth of July, however create a holiday “that is inclusive of everyone.”
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which have actually demanded reforms following the k*lling of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman, momentum is growing to support making this day a legal holiday. Previously this month, a number of companies recognized it as a paid holiday or honored the day with a minute of silence, including Adobe, Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, Target and Twitter.
Williams has been in talks with corporations and legislators to create an American holiday in addition to worldwide vacations to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved individuals globally.
The Juneteenth promise has actually already been supported by business such as Adidas, Airbnb, HP, J. M. Smucker Company, Starbucks and Under Armour.
Dealing with companies is a vital part of the procedure, Williams stated.
“We’re a nation, a country, but we operate like a company,” he said.
Williams noted that corporations comprehend that their consumer bases not just have the capability to vote, but to vote with their wallets.
“The consumer base has buying power,” he said. “When you have buying power, you have a voice. That’s been the biggest voice for African Americans. We never really had a voice. We never really had any market share.”