Brands and agencies begin to recognize Juneteenth

(Brands celebrate the emancipation of slaves)

Happy Juneteenth. Today is one of the most, if not the most, important day of the year to Black Americans. It’s the celebration which commemorates the day when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned of their emancipation, more than two months after the end of the Civil War.

Now, 155 years after the first Juneteenth celebrations, and due to the current state of things, we are being forced to really… really… really take a hard look at the treatment of different races in this country.

Brands are now beginning to recognize Juneteenth as well. Nike, Square and Target employees have today off or will be paid for holiday hours. HBO is screening its Peabody Award-winning series Watchmen for free this weekend.

Meanwhile, ad agencies have given their employees the day off including Omnicom, The Martin Agency, MediaCom, Deutsch, Ogilvy and Huge.

State and local governments are also moving toward declaring Juneteenth an official holiday. The speed of the changes makes it clear how easy this process can be when there is political will behind it.

In New York City beginning next year, Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced Juneteenth will become an official holiday. “Starting next year, Juneteenth will be an official holiday and an official New York City schools holiday,” the mayor said at his daily press briefing.

ALSO READ: HBO offers all 9 eps of ‘Watchmen’ for FREE

Here’s a collection of tweets we rounded up:

While it has been more than a century since enslaved people were freed, Black Americans are still not given the same freedoms awarded to citizens of other races. But that doesn’t mean Juneteenth shouldn’t be celebrated. What it does mean is that while we commemorate the Black community and all they have achieved and overcome.

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We leave you with this quote from Malcolm X:

Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.”