Pharrell Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, Kenya Barris and Van Jones have joined with Global Citizen and the advisory firm Teneo for The Juneteenth Pledge, announced on Monday. The global campaign seeks to turn Juneteenth (June 19th) into a national holiday by encouraging the private sector to recognize it as a paid holiday.
Juneteenth is celebrated annually as the commemoration date for the end of slavery in the United States, and it has gained more prominence in 2020 due to ongoing racial justice protests spurred on by the police killing of George Floyd. As part of the first event for The Juneteenth Pledge, CEOs from Adidas, Airbnb, Starbucks, Under Armour and more joined a conference call last week to discuss the possibility of turning June 19th into a paid holiday at their respective companies, according to a press release from Global Citizen.
“I love America for its progression, but I’m really in love with the untapped potential of this country,” Williams said. “It was incredible to have powerful minds come together and really listen and be open to celebrating Juneteenth as a paid holiday. These companies influence which way the wind blows, they influence the economy and this was a very meaningful step in the right direction.”
DeGeneres added, “This is a time to be on the right side of history. As a white person, I cannot do enough. My wish is for everyone to join together in this fight.”