Here’s what Dallas-Fort Worth businesses are doing to honor the June 16 federal holiday – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Dallas-based Comerica will honor the federal holiday of June 16 by giving its 7,500 workers a day off among other company events.

Department store JCPenney will be looking to wow shoppers this holiday with a new Juneteenth collection of shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with phrases like “Black history is American history.”

And Dallas Southern Pride, an annual celebration of black LGBTQ people, will host six days of events beginning Tuesday to celebrate June 16 and Pride Month.

A year after racial and social justice leaders staged protests and rallies in Dallas and other major U.S. cities demanding changes in racism and policing, President Biden signed legislation ending June 16. At Biden’s side was the 95- year-old civil rights activist Opal Lee from Fort Worth.

June 16, celebrated by corporations on Monday this year, marks the day in 1865 that Union troops landed in Galveston with the news that slaves had been emancipated.

Many businesses throughout Dallas-Fort Worth celebrate black history by participating in events and parades. Others give employees a day off or the opportunity to hear speakers discuss topics such as diversity, equity and inclusion.

Harrison Blair, president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, said that regarding June 16, a number of things “have long been accepted by black residents.” He pointed to products like “Juneteenth Ice Cream,” which sparked controversy when Walmart introduced it this year.

Harrison Blair, President of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce(Courtesy Dallas Black Chamber)

“Anything that benefits from a community that a company doesn’t really engage with deeply is problematic,” Blair said. “Anything that helps us celebrate with the communities, what it means to uplift and speak out about history – we wholeheartedly support that.”

Blair said he sees a big improvement in how businesses celebrate the historic holiday this year.

It can be as simple as teaching employees why Juneteenth matters, Blair said. He also pointed to seminars hosted by North Texas companies to raise employee awareness of the importance of diversity.

“Some of the hard parts are having tough conversations at work and talking about why we’re celebrating this holiday,” Blair said. “It’s not comfortable in every workplace because not all Americans agree with the story. It takes bold enterprise and bold leadership to speak about things we know are difficult to discuss.”

The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce is holding a 9am Saturday cleanup at William Blair Park to bring the community together ahead of the holiday. The chamber will support a range of events across the city, Blair said, but he encourages people to learn about history by visiting places like the African American Museum at Dallas Fair Park or the South Dallas Cultural Center.

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At Dallas-based Comerica, the bank and its employees will be taking the federal holiday off, said Nate Bennett, the bank’s chief diversity officer and head of talent acquisition.

“June 16 is crucial for us and our colleagues because we look at it from two perspectives: What are we doing internally for our colleagues? And how are we supporting our communities regarding June 16?” said Bennett.

Comerica held a virtual panel discussion on Wednesday, June 16 and has a collaborative partnership with the National Association of Black Accountants.

Leading a diverse workforce means nurturing an environment where employees feel they belong, Bennett said. 41% of Comerica’s U.S. workforce are racial or ethnic minorities, according to 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Metrics.

“It’s the opportunity we have at Comerica to put our true selves to work, to really feel like we have psychological security and that we’re being treated fairly,” Bennett said.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is also taking a day off, and earlier this week brought in Rev. Deneen Robinson, program director at the Afiya Center in Dallas, to speak with employees about the intersections of race, religion, gender and sexuality. The Dallas Fed has 1,200 employees, some of whom work in offices in Houston, San Antonio and El Paso.

It also hosted the Public Relations Society of America for a conversation with Dione Sims, director of Unity Unlimited Inc. and granddaughter of Opal Lee, known as the “Grandmother of June 16th.” Wednesday’s conversation focused on why it’s important to go beyond simply acknowledging June 16.

Federal law requires US employers to choose whether to give their employees a paid day off, although some choose to take an unpaid work day.

Dallas-based Match Group will give its employees a paid day off, said Terrance Thomas, their manager of DEI programs. Thomas said Match sent out a company-wide email ahead of June 16 to encourage employees to take the time to learn more about the day and everyone to a June 16 celebration at his office in invited Dallas.

Terrance Thomas, Head of Match Group's diversity, equity and inclusion programs
Terrance Thomas, Head of Match Group’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs(Courtesy of Match Group)

The company’s “Family Matters” themed event included traditional June 16 dishes like red velvet cake, fruit and strawberry-hibiscus tea that symbolize sacrifice while still celebrating unity, Thomas said. Prosperity foods like cornbread, black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes are also included, he said.

“We want everyone at Match to feel prosperous and happy this June 16th,” said Thomas.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Perry said the Dallas-based airline is offering its 59,000 employees a day off to choose a state or religious holiday to celebrate. Flexible holidays can be used for holidays that fall outside of the company’s 10-year vacation, Perry said, such as the employee’s birthday.

“We encourage our employees to celebrate and honor the holidays that are important to them,” Perry said. “Our robust DEI department equips employees to participate in cultural celebrations throughout the year, including June 16.”

Dallas-based AT&T plans to release a message from Corey Anthony, the company’s chief diversity officer, about the holiday on Friday. On Saturday at 6:00 p.m., the AT&T Discovery District will host a free June 16 picnic and live music from local black artists Medicine Man Revival and DJ Richy.

One of the first North Texas companies to announce Juneteenth plans was JC Penney of Plano. The Company will host a mix of events, products and philanthropic engagements to honor the holiday and promote the work of Opal Lee. Its leaders and workers will join Lee in Fort Worth on Saturday on her Walk for Freedom, which builds on a tradition she started in 2016 with 2.5-mile walks that represent the 2.5 years it took , until the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas.

“This effort is the result of creative collaboration across many parts of the organization, and JC Penney is thrilled to come together to honor this moment,” said Val Harris, senior vice president of design, brand management and trend.

However, JC Penney’s shops will remain open on Monday, with hourly employees receiving extra holiday pay.

Canadian media company Thomson Reuters introduced a paid day off for its full-time employees in the U.S. for the first time in 2020 and is introducing the holiday as part of its official vacation schedule, said Brian Peccarelli, Thomson Reuters chief operating officer. Thomson Reuters has over 800 employees in North Texas.

Peccarelli said the company’s Black Employee Network will host a reception in recognition of Juneteenth Thursday at its Carrollton campus.

“This is a time for employees to come together for learning, community and celebration and is open to all Thomson Reuters employees,” said Peccarelli.

It’s not just a day off. Other companies participate in community celebrations as vendors or sponsors.

Dallas Southern Pride, Dallas’ June 16 Unity weekend celebrating black LGBTQ identities, draws over 20,000 people to the area and has generated a $2.2 million economic impact over the past year, Kirk said Myers-Hill, President of the Group.

Popular retail spaces like the Galleria in Dallas and Legacy West in Plano also have events planned for the holiday. The Galleria commissioned artist Nikki Dionne, known for her depiction of black life in America, to design a t-shirt.

At Legacy West, a runway show at Legacy Hall will showcase local black designers and creatives. These include: House Of Dasha, Don Morphy, Ese Azenabor, 1 Street Sales, Creteation, Handmade Statement Earrings & Accessories, Indigo 1745, Amy Holly Caftans, Energy Check, PWR WMN and MEZAI Accessories.

The Dallas Cowboys are hosting an event Saturday at The Star in Frisco highlighting black-owned businesses and the Frisco Inclusion Committee.

Featured companies include: Brandon Harris Art, Customs by AK, Design by Society, EMBODI, Energy Gardens Living Decor, Hoppin’ Preps, Infinity Candle Co., JJ Carson Press, Kerry Lofton, Kessler Baking Studio, Lilac Tattoo Studio, Nard Got Sole, Tamu by OV, Pieces of Us by Us, Rose Style Studio, The Painted Phoenix and Wilder Sweet.

For companies looking to go further than acknowledging the holiday, Blair said the key is to continue the conversation. He said workplaces need to consider committees or historical groups to delve deeper into the history of June 16 and issues affecting black people.

“Sharing Dallas’ cultural history doesn’t hurt us, it makes us stronger,” he said.

What is June 16? The story behind the federal holiday with Texas roots

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