This weekend in the United States, many of our employees, customers and communities will celebrate Juneteenth. This celebration is being observed in more cities, states and communities, is now a national holiday, and has become a celebration of freedom and an example of racial injustice, especially during the social unrest of the past couple of years.
As you hear and learn about Juneteenth, I would ask you to keep in mind our corporate value of Diversity, and Inclusion, and think about the wide range of experiences that make up our country – both positive and negative. In each of these experiences there is a lesson if we are open to it. And our employees, our customers and our communities have been impacted by these experiences in different ways. While this is a relatively new commemoration for many, its impact is no less important.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union general Gordon Granger delivered news from his mansion that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free. It was a beginning but not an end. And it was also two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation which was supposed to set all slaves free in the US.
Diversity and Inclusion are important to me and are critical for the success of our company and our individual employees. Whether or not Juneteenth is a national holiday, it’s important for all of us to be aware of these cultural markers and milestones that are significant to our colleagues and communities. Understanding the significance of these events, and seeking to learn from each other, will lead to better communication, collaboration and innovation.
Please take a moment to find out more about Juneteenth and its significance. And use these celebrations and events to learn more about our history and the impacts of these events that you may not yet fully understand. With numerous holidays, religious observances and days that are special to us individually throughout the year, such as Juneteenth, I would invite you to utilize our Floating Holidays to celebrate or commemorate those days which are special to you. And please feel free to share below any thoughts you have about our newest national holiday.
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.