This year, the Labs will add Juneteenth to its calendar as a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African American people and was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
Juneteenth is “a time for people of all backgrounds to come together to fellowship with, educate ourselves about and uplift the African American community,” former Deputy Labs Director Dori Ellis wrote in a letter to staff about the holiday in 2020. “I encourage you to take some time to self-reflect and create a personal path forward to instill positive and permanent changes in your immediate environment. Get to know your colleagues. Make sure all your teammates are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.”
Typical ways that Juneteenth might be celebrated include family gatherings, cookouts, city celebrations, parades, pageants, educational and cultural demonstrations and acknowledgment of the achievements of African Americans and contributions to their communities. This new, permanent Labs holiday replaces the Energy Conservation Day, usually observed on the Friday after Thanksgiving for many staff members. Represented employees should follow provisions in their collective bargaining agreements.