Target has announced that starting this year, it is making Juneteenth an annual company holiday.
Juneteenth – June 19 – is the commemoration of the ending of slavery following the end of the American Civil War, and has been marked every year since 1865.
Its significance this Friday is as great as it's been in recent memory amid the ongoing calls for racial justice and equity in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police.
As a result, Target has announced that henceforth, June 19 will be a company holiday, with eligible employees having the option to take the day off with full pay, while its headquarters in Minneapolis will be closed.
Those hourly workers who will work in stores and distribution centers will be paid time-and-a-half.
"We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different," said Target CEO Brian Cornell.
"Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis – as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities – is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way."
Since the civil unrest in the Twin Cities, Target has pledged $10 million for social justice organizations, including "new partners" in the Twin Cities, as well as 10,000 hours of pro-bono consulting services for BIPOC-owned small businesses in the Twin Cities.
The retailer has also pledged to reopen the two Minneapolis stores seriously damaged in the unrest, with the Uptown store due to open in the near future, and the Lake Street store reopening by the end of the year.
The company has seen its profits fall in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but still posted net income of $284 million in the first quarter thanks to a significant uptick in grocery sales.
In 2018, Target employed 20 percent racial/ethnic minorities at the executive/senior official/management level, and 50 percent at the sales worker level.