It was only one year ago that Juneteenth was established as a national holiday in the United States and this weekend, many of our employees, customers and communities will celebrate our newest holiday. Juneteenth has become a celebration of freedom and a reminder of our nation’s history of racial injustice, and is especially important during the social unrest of the past couple of years.
As a quick reminder, last year President Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the US to commemorate June 19, 1865, in Texas, when the news was finally delivered that the war had ended and the slaves in the state were now free; two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. In his remarks last year, the president said, “We can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation.”
It’s an important reminder that not all people are treated equally, and that we all need to take the time to make sure everyone in our organization has an opportunity to succeed. Day & Zimmermann has many different businesses, requiring a diverse set of skills and/or experiences, and in order for us to attract, retain and develop the best talent, we must be able to offer exceptional opportunities for growth and advancement.
As a values-based organization, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important to me and are critical for the success of our company, our individual employees and our customers. We need a collection of diverse, innovative minds and experiences to help us accelerate the next generation of innovation. We also need to have an environment of mutual respect, where everyone feels safe to speak up and is heard, and has the resources and opportunities they need to be successful.
Consider what you can do as a manager or co-worker to identify opportunities for others and help all of us be successful and have fulfilling careers at Day & Zimmermann. And although Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, I hope you will use the three floating holidays available to most employees to celebrate those days and events which are important to you and your community. Please feel free to share below any thoughts you have about Juneteenth.
Hal Yoh is chair and chief executive officer of Day & Zimmermann, a leader in construction & engineering, staffing and defense solutions for leading corporations and government agencies around the world. He is the third generation of the Yoh family to lead Day & Zimmermann—a family-owned business and former recipient of the U.S. National Family Business of the Year award. As chairman and chief executive officer since 1999, Hal has helped shape the strategic growth that the company has achieved over the last few decades.