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Gary Community Investments Announces Decision to Observe Juneteenth as Paid Holiday for All Employees

In observance of Juneteenth, the day widely used to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, Gary Community Investments today announced that its board of directors unanimously voted to recognize June 19th as an annual company-paid holiday beginning Friday, June 19, 2020. Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston released the following statement.

“At Gary Community Investments we choose to honor Juneteenth as both a celebration and a promise,” said Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston. “While it commemorates a moment of great joy for African Americans, it also stands as a symbol of the gap between the promise of freedom and the delivery of it. When union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to announce that the Civil War had ended and that the African Americans who had been enslaved were free, it had been two and a half years of additional struggle and sacrifice since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And, although the 14th Amendment promised equality one year later, the recent killing of George Floyd and other black lives proves that equality has also yet to be delivered. And so we commemorate Juneteenth not only to honor the leadership of black Americans who gave their lives in the long fight for freedom, but also to resoundingly commit our own lives to help deliver the still elusive promise of American equality today,” Johnston said.

“It’s been 155 years since that day in 1865, and while the day has yet to be recognized as a federal holiday, at Gary Community Investments, we’re choosing to officially recognize this important date in history to acknowledge everything it meant for African Americans then, as well as to keep focus on what freedom and justice can and should be for African Americans now and in the future,” he said.

“Marking Juneteenth as a paid holiday at Gary Community Investments is just one of the ways we intend to celebrate the success of the black community, further educate ourselves on the black experience in this country, and stand with our black families, friends and neighbors as an advocate for equity and justice. We hope other organizations will join us and collaborate in pushing the state and federal government to make it a national holiday that is recognized and observed,” he said.

“As we reevaluate our strategies for investing in the black community, we invite individuals and institutions to come alongside us as we learn more about what our black leaders and members of the community desire and deserve from us in the days, months and years ahead,” Johnston added.