As company after company puts out ads and sends out emails expressing their support for black Americans in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Forbes notes that some, especially in the tech world, have been slammed for being all talk, no action. Twitter is looking to separate itself from that pack, with a big announcement from CEO Jack Dorsey: The company will be making Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19 to mark the end of slavery, a holiday for its US employees "forevermore," Dorsey said in a Tuesday tweet. It will be "a day for celebration, education, and connection," he added. The holiday will be observed at Square as well, where Dorsey also serves as CEO. In other countries where similar days of emancipation are celebrated, Dorsey tweeted, "We will do the work to make those dates company holidays everywhere we are present."
The day commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers freed slaves in Galveston, Texas—more than two years after Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation—and informed them the Civil War had ended, per the New York Times. The paper notes 47 states already recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, and that there's been a push to make Juneteenth a national holiday as well, but it's been held up in Congress. Dorsey weighed in on that initiative, too. "Agreed," he responded on Twitter after someone mentioned that possibility. Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks tells the Times the holiday isn't well-known outside of the black community, and that it's not common for a company with mainly white employees to celebrate it. "Like a shock, change has come," she says, adding "we will ... have to look beyond the ease of their words today" to see if "concrete" action continues. (More Twitter stories.)