Why we’re closing our offices for Juneteenth

This Sunday, 19th June, is Juneteenth, the national commemoration of ending slavery in the United States. 

To mark this day, also known as ‘Freedom Day’, we have chosen to shut our studios globally on Friday 17th June. Our US offices will also be closed on Monday 20th June for the official US observation day.

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19th 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Grange, landed in Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1st 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the small number of troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Sairah Ashman, our Global CEO, explains: “Juneteenth has been commemorated and celebrated in the US since its first anniversary in 1866, but it was in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020 that we chose to close our business globally in observation of the day. This decision was a sign of our commitment to contributing to systemic change to achieve equity for the black community. We have continued this tradition since. 

“We recognise Juneteenth as a day to create space for learning and reflection. As a company, we aspire to be a leader in building a diverse, inclusive team and culture. In the lead-up to the day, we encourage everyone to recognise the racism, discrimination and inequality that still occurs in our society and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture,” adds Sairah.

As a company, we will be sharing resources internally to help expand our knowledge, discuss the initiatives we are currently funding to support systemic change in our industry, as well as information on our network’s Black Together employee group. We will also be encouraging people to share with each other through our internal communication channels.

Find out more about Juneteenth here and please, if you can, take a moment during the holiday to learn and reflect on the history of this important day.