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How some companies are celebrating Juneteenth in unique ways this week
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How some companies are celebrating Juneteenth in unique ways this week

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The Senate has unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, to commemorate the end of slavery in the US.

Major corporations are celebrating Juneteenth in unique ways this week.

The annual June 19 tradition, which falls on Saturday this year, commemorates the day in 1865 when former American slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of President Abraham Lincoln's Jan. 1, 1863, Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War.

It took Union troops more than two years to finish travel throughout the southern United States to inform all the former slaves of Lincoln's executive order. The Dec. 6, 1865, ratification of the 13th Amendment made slavery illegal throughout the U.S. "except as a punishment for crime."

African Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth as their own Independence Day since the late 19th century, according to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, but the holiday gained mainstream recognition and took on more significance in the business world in the aftermath of the shooting of George Floyd more than a year ago.

Companies are celebrating Juneteenth in unique ways this week

A man carries a Black Liberation flag through a Juneteenth celebration at the memorial for George Floyd outside Cup Foods on June 19, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The racial reckoning that erupted around the globe following Floyd's murder by a former police officer compelled many Fortune 500 companies to add Juneteenth to their calendars for the first time while also committing billions of dollars to initiatives designed to combat institutional racism.

Many cities and states across the country also introduced bills and passed laws in recognition of Juneteenth. Earlier this week, federal lawmakers in the Senate and the House passed bills that would make Juneteenth an official federal holiday. The move brings the yearly celebration a step closer to becoming the first national holiday issued by the U.S. government since President Ronald Reagan signed a law adding Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday in 1983.

In honor of Juneteenth, CNN Business talked to 19 major companies about how they plan to celebrate the holiday this weekend:

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