Taylor Swift says Juneteenth should be national holiday, gives employees day off
Taylor Swift has joined a number of prominent voices calling for Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, to be recognized as a national Federal holiday. The Lover singer gave her employees the day off in the spirit of that sentiment.
"Personally, I’ve made the decision to give all of my employees June 19th off in honor of Freedom Day from now on, and to continue to educate myself on the history that brought us to this present moment," Swift wrote in a message on Instagram alongside a video from The Root explaining the significance of the day.
She continued, "For my family, everything that has transpired recently gives us an opportunity to reflect, listen, and reprogram any part of our lives that hasn’t been loudly and ferociously anti-racist, and to never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what’s right."
This June 19th marks the 155th anniversary of the abolishment of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Sep. 22, 1862, but slaves living far from Union lines weren't fully aware they were free until Union General Gordon Granger led troops to Texas on June 19, 1865 to spread the word.
Companies like Nike, Twitter, Target, and the NFL are internally recognizing Juneteenth as a paid company holiday for its employees.
The newfound focus on Juneteenth comes after nationwide anti-racism protests over the past few weeks that were sparked by the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by a police officer. Additional demonstrations are planned on Friday, while other companies made plans to mark the occasion. Among them, HBO launched a marathon of Watchmen starting Friday, as the show directly addresses topics of racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. Music streaming service Bandcamp also announced it will waive its share of sales on Juneteenth and donate them to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Earlier this week, Swift joined calls for the Tennessee government not to replace a statue of Edward Carmack that was torn down during a Black Lives Matter protest in Nashville. Carmack, who was a journalist and politician, often antagonized Black civil rights leader and NAACP co-founder Ida B. Wells and sparked a mob that destroyed her Memphis newspaper office.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which moves decision-makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.