Food retailers such as Target are stepping up their social justice efforts.
Target is offering its workers a new holiday, complete with more pay — Juneteenth. The holiday, which takes place Friday marks the day in 1865 when a Union general told enslaved people in Texas they were free, and has come to serve as a broader commemoration.
The move by the retail chain and major seller of groceries comes as corporations in this space and from other parts of commerce take stances on the protests and political energies unleashed by the alleged murder by Minneapolis police of George Floyd. Target, like other retailers, has had stores damaged by rioters.
“We recognize that the racial trauma the country is experiencing now is not new, but throughout recent weeks there has been a sense that this time is, and has to be, different,” said Target CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell. “Juneteenth takes on additional significance in this moment. Moving now to recognize it on an annual basis—as a day to celebrate, further educate ourselves or connect with our communities—is one more important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”
Target said it will not close any stores or distribution centers on July 19 for the Juneteenth holiday. But the retailer said that “hourly team members who work on June 19 will be paid time and a half. All eligible Target team members have the option to take the day off with full pay. Headquarters offices will be closed in observance.”
Target said it will direct some $10 million to “social justice efforts” as the protests continue, and take other steps aimed at “creating lasting change around racial justice and equity.” In announcing the Juneteenth holiday within the chain, Target also said that “in the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue to listen and learn from our team members, our guests and our community partners—all to further Target’s role in creating tangible and lasting change.”