As SAIC continues to foster a culture where diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount, we have added Juneteenth as a paid company holiday for our 26,000-plus employees. We are proud to be one of the first companies in our industry to do so.
Adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday is our official recognition of Juneteenth and an important demonstration of SAIC’s core value to advance diversity, equity and inclusion — both inside and outside the company.
Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom. Its name is a combination of “June" and “nineteenth." The holiday is also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day.
During the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than 3 million enslaved people living in the Confederate states free. However, more than two years would pass before the news reached Texas. It was not until June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, that the Union Army sent General Gordon Granger to Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved Black people of their freedom and the end of the war.
Defying confusion, terror, and violence, the newly freed men and women of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen's Bureau (the federally established relief agency which, itself, was delayed from arriving until September 1865), now had a date to rally around. In one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period, they transformed June 19 from a day of unheeded military orders into an annual rite and called it Juneteenth, beginning one year later in 1866.