DETROIT – DTE Energy announced Monday that June 19 -- a holiday known as Juneteenth -- will be recognized company wide on Friday as a day for reflection and well-being amid national unrest.
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating June 19, 1865, when the last African American slaves were informed of their freedom.
DTE said in a statement that employees across the country will receive a paid day off on Friday and are encouraged to “join with family members, friends or coworkers to listen, learn, heal and act for racial justice.”
“I stand with all 10,000 DTE employees against all forms of discrimination and violence at work and where we live. Marking June 19th as a day of reflection this year will allow us to recommit to listen, learn, act and heal with family, friends and across communities as we work to change ourselves for the better," said DTE president and CEO Jerry Norcia. "Racism prevents us from seeing others as equals. I hope that this Friday everyone can reach out and demonstrate support and understanding for each other.”
DTE is encouraging its employees to spend their day off learning more about Juneteenth and other events in Black history, having conversations and learning from other’s experiences and volunteering to promote racial equity.
Officials say essential and emergency company operations will still be available on Friday.
The move comes as companies and organizations are acknowledging Black American experiences and history amid a national outcry against racism following the recent deaths of numerous Black Americans -- including Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta, George Floyd of Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor of Louisville.