June 19, or “Juneteenth” as it’s commonly known, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved Black residents in Texas learned from Union soldiers that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years before.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana recognizes the significance of Juneteenth and has designated it as a paid holiday for our employees (given June 19 falls on Saturday this year, Goodwill will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18...this includes our Michigan St., Tremont, Yost and Children’s Learning Center facilities). On Saturday, June 19, retail will be open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Outlet hours will be 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. in observance of this important holiday and to offer time for both staff and customers to reflect on its impact and meaning.
“Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and should be recognized and celebrated,” said Kent A. Kramer, President and CEO of Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. “We will take time to actively reflect on the importance of this day in American history and proactively work toward ensuring racial equality.”
In 2020, Goodwill launched the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force with the sole purpose of ensuring that Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is a welcoming place to work that inspires a sense of belonging for all people. The DEI Task Force began its work in earnest with a series of virtual town hall meetings and the goal of better understanding the personal and workplace issues that our co-workers face daily who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color), LGBTQ+ and/or persons with disabilities.
In direct response to what was shared in the town hall meetings, a series of immediate changes have been made at Goodwill, including the recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Juneteenth as paid holidays. A speakers series was launched to help provide voice and awareness to the issues of racism, diversity, equity and inclusion; the first speaker was New York Times best-selling author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. A review of our HR policies is currently underway and has resulted in immediate changes, including an overhaul of our recruiting and hiring practices.
“An exciting development is that diversity, equity and inclusion will be central to our new strategic plan that is currently being developed,” said Kramer. “This ensures that our commitment to this important work is ongoing and fully understood by the entire organization.”
Goodwill continues to actively develop DEI-related initiatives that will enhance the culture of the communities we serve. We proudly recognize and celebrate Juneteenth.
For more information about Goodwill’s mission and values, please visit goodwillindy.org.