Berkeley Lab

Holiday in Observance of Juneteenth – From Lab Director Mike Witherell

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to share that today the President signed an executive order declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. I am also pleased to share with you that the Department of Energy has extended this holiday to us so that Lab employees can take tomorrow, Friday, June 18, as a paid holiday to observe Juneteenth. Just as with any other holiday, the Lab will be closed.

We acknowledge this is on short notice and hope you are able to take this time off. Please record the time for the Juneteenth holiday using the “Auth Leave” code in LETS.

Juneteenth, celebrated on the 19th of June and also referred to as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free after federal troops arrived to enforce federal law prohibiting slavery. This came more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became law on January 1, 1863, and more than two months after the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865. This NPR article details the decades-long activism to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth is an opportunity to reflect on the history of our country’s treatment of Black Americans, and to consider how our values can help guide us into a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future. We look forward to working with both UC and the Department of Energy to establish how Lab employees can continue to observe this significant milestone in the years to come.

I am thankful to be part of such an inclusive community and invite you to join me in celebrating and reflecting on the meaning of Juneteenth for Black Americans and for everyone who believes equality continues to be an urgent priority for our nation. To learn more, explore the many resources offered by our HR and DEI offices and join us in making positive changes in our community.

Best regards,