Read the letter Jeff Bezos sent to Amazon employees about black people

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Amazon CEO on Tuesday joined the growing list of tech leaders calling for their companies to commemorate Juneteenth.

In a letter to employees, Jeff Bezos urged them to cancel all meetings on Friday to  honor Juneteenth, which celebrates the emancipation of Black people from slavery in the U.S. On that date in 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to African Americans.

In support of social justice, Amazon announced earlier this month it will donate $10 million to social justice organizations.

During protests across the nation after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck, Amazon tweeted that the “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people” must stop.

Amazon is the latest tech giant to recognize Juneteenth, amid increasing support for the Black Lives Matter protests around the world for racial justice in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, said last week that both companies will honor Juneteenth as a company holiday in the U.S., while Google has instructed employees to cancel meetings that day. Facebook has also encouraged its employees to commemorate Juneteenth with a day of learning. Other companies and organizations like Nike and the National Football league made Juneteenth a holiday.

Here’s the full memo obtained by CNBC:

From: “Bezos, Jeff” <jeff@amazon.com>

Subject: Juneteenth

Over the past few weeks, the Steam and I have spent a lot of time listening to customers and employees and thinking about how recent events in our country have laid bare the systemic racism and injustices that oppress Black individuals and communities.

This Friday, June 19, is Juneteenth, the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. I’m cancelling all of my meetings on Friday, and I encourage all of you to do the same if you can. We’re providing a range of online learning opportunities for employees throughout the day.

Please take some time to reflect, learn, and support each other. Slavery ended a long time ago, but racism didn’t.

Jeff

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