(Bloomberg) -- Nestle SA will include Juneteenth as a U.S. holiday starting next year, becoming one of the first European companies to commemorate the formal end of slavery in the country in 1865 as protests over racial injustice rage on.
The Swiss food giant joins the likes of Nike Inc. and Twitter Inc. in adding June 19 to its corporate holiday calendar for the first time.
“As a U.S. citizen, I find it morally and ethically correct that this important milestone in American history be acknowledged,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider said by phone. “We’re happy to join the forefront on this.”
Juneteenth quickly became more widely known this year amid Black Lives Matter demonstrations and outrage over an initial plan by President Donald Trump to hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that day. Companies from all over the world have taken to social media to pledge support in the fight against racial inequality. Schneider was born in Germany and became a U.S. citizen in 2003 after studying at Harvard.
Nestle also said it will donate $1.5 million to the National Urban League, UNCF and other organizations dedicated to ending racial discrimination and providing education and job training.
Last month, Germany’s Adidas AG and Sweden’s Spotify Technology SA made Juneteenth an annual paid day off for U.S. employees.
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