National Grid will honor Juneteenth as a company holiday for all U.S. employees starting this June. The company stated, “National Grid has remained committed to inclusion, equity and diversity over the years, but refocused their efforts in 2020, fueled by the Black Lives Matter movement and the murder of George Floyd.
“For National Grid, naming Juneteenth a company holiday is another step on the road to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation that had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln more than two years earlier. It the oldest holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. Juneteenth recognizes the continued struggle for freedom and racial equality for Black Americans in the US.
Because Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, U.S. employees will have Friday, June 18, off work.
“Combatting systemic racism and standing with our Black colleagues and communities in solidarity have always been part of National Grid’s commitment to inclusion, equity and diversity,” said Natalie Edwards, chief diversity officer of National Grid. “Declaring Juneteenth a company holiday is a symbol of our dedication to honoring Black Americans who have suffered the impacts of racism throughout U.S. history.”
National Grid encourages employees to use the time away from work as a day of reflection and to celebrate Black communities, particularly in the neighborhoods where they live and work.
In the past year, National Grid introduced its “Responsible Business Charter,” which identifies where the company can have the most impact on society. Within this charter, the company has laid out a number of targets they must achieve to advance inclusion, equity and diversity, including hiring, promoting and retaining diverse employees, and transparency around progress. The company has also hired its first global chief diversity officer and trained managers of people on biases. This is designed to help advance the careers of diverse team members.