What Jeff Bezos Had To Say About Juneteenth

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has taken a stand with other tech moguls in asking their employees to commemorate Juneteenth.

On Tuesday, Bezos sent a memo to his employees, asking them to postpone all work meetings on Friday to mark Juneteenth. The day is marked in honor of the liberation of Black people from slavery in the United States.

On the 19th of June, 1865, Union army general Gordon Granger announced the Emancipation Proclamation to Black Americans.

Instead of celebrating it as a company holiday, Amazon will make various online learning tools available to its employees on Friday. The Amazon CEO also encouraged his employees to “take some time to reflect, learn, and support each other.”

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The social media network has undertaken similar efforts in the 2016 election when it registered 2 million voters and in the 2018 midterms when it registered another 2 million. However, this is their biggest effort to date.

While users won’t be able to opt out of the voting center, they will be able to turn off political advertising. The changes are expected on Instagram and Facebook from Wednesday onwards.

Zuckerberg addressed the network’s policies on free speech and election interference. His comments follow the criticism over Facebook’s refusal to take action against inaccurate or hateful information shared by U.S. President Donald Trump and other politicians.

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Amazon is the latest company to encourage the commemoration of Juneteenth, following the rising support for racial justice protests and the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, announced that his companies will commemorate Juneteenth as a company holiday. Google has asked employees to postpone all meetings on Friday, while Facebook employees will celebrate Juneteenth with a day filled with learning.

They are joined by organizations and companies such as the National Football League and Nike, who are celebrating Juneteenth as a holiday.

Bezos expressed his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Instagram, where he addressed upset customers who did not agree with the company’s support for the protesters. 

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The CEO’s memo follows Amazon’s announcement that it will make a $10 million donation to organizations that champion social justice. The tech giant also tweeted that the “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community — our employees, customers, and partners — in the fight against systematic racism and injustice.”

Read Jeff Bezos’ entire memo below:


From: “Bezos, Jeff” <jeff@amazon.com>
Subject: Juneteenth

Over the past few weeks, the Steam and I have spent a lot of time listening to customers and employees and thinking about how recent events in our country have laid bare the systemic racism and injustices that oppress Black individuals and communities.

This Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. I’m cancelling all of my meetings on Friday, and I encourage all of you to do the same if you can. We’re providing a range of online learning opportunities for employees throughout the day.

Please take some time to reflect, learn, and support each other. Slavery ended a long time ago, but racism didn’t.

Jeff

Posted 
June 19, 2020
 in 

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