Fatima Hussein, the Bloomberg Law reporter who is president of the union at Bloomberg Industry Group, sent the following to her colleagues on Tuesday:
The holidays we observe as a society tell a lot about us as a people, a society and what we value. We want to talk about three holidays today: Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, and the Federal Holiday that falls on the second Monday in October.
This Friday is Juneteenth, a day that commemorates when enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865. Two months after the confederacy had surrendered, and two and a half years since the Emancipation Proclamation the people learned of their freedom. Annually, people in Texas would celebrate, reflect, and remember this day. The observance spread across the nation and has become a cornerstone for the Black community. We know many of our Black colleagues use their vacation time to take Juneteenth off to observe this momentous day. We would hope that Bloomberg Industry Group would take affirmative steps to honor and recognize this day on an annual basis. Twitter, insider, and Square have all made it a company holiday. And Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will introduce legislation to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday. We call upon the company not to deduct annual leave for any employee who opts to take Juneteenth off.
It is also an important historical note that while Juneteenth saw the end of slavery in the former confederacy, it would take six more months for slavery to officially end in the North when a sufficient number of States ratified the 13th amendment. It is a reminder for all of us that the struggle for justice continues.
As a company focused on, and with offices in Washington, we also feel that it is important that we recognize Emancipation Day. On April 16, 1862, President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act. This was the first federal emancipation law and was a precursor to the Emancipation Proclamation. The District of Columbia observes this day as a public holiday, and the IRS adjusts the tax filing deadline in honor of the Holiday. We feel that the company should makes plans to observe this day and reflect on the local Black history as well.
Finally, the Second Monday in October is a Federal Holiday. The name of this holiday promotes a Eurocentric ethnocentrism which attempts to whitewash the contributions of indigenous people and ignore the genocide perpetuated by colonial powers. We ask that the company modify the name of this holiday to respect those people and rechristen the Second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Bloomberg Industry Group.