In recognition of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, United Way of Central Ohio will make June 19 an annual paid holiday for employees.
Lisa Courtice, president and CEO, shared this announcement with staff earlier this week. She hopes this decision will allow her colleagues to take time to pause, reflect, read, learn, celebrate and connect with family and loved ones.
As an organization that serves and partners with many populations of color, United Way will continue to focus on gaining a deeper understanding of the work still needed to support the black community in central Ohio. Courtice believes each person at United Way has a responsibility to identify racism and to take the necessary steps to prioritize its elimination. Formal recognition of Juneteenth is just one of many ways the organization is taking action.
Many national corporations are also formally recognizing Juneteenth. They include Nike, Target, Adobe, Google and others. A memo shared by Google to its employees stated, “Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to find moments of connection as a community.” We agree.