official Juneteenth flag

Celebrating Juneteenth: Advancing Racial Equity and Empowerment

Levi Strauss & Co.
June 13, 2023

On Monday, June 19, Levi Strauss & Co. employees around the world in our corporate offices, retail stores and distribution centers will observe a company paid day off to commemorate Juneteenth and other local freedom movements.

Juneteenth, officially recognized as a federal holiday in the U.S. in 2021, holds great historical significance as it marks the end of slavery on June 19, 1865. Also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, this date symbolizes Union General Gordon Granger’s arrival in Galveston, Texas, to declare freedom for all slaves, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Members of Project Onyx, LS&Co.’s Black employee resource group, sat down to share their stories and lived experiences in honor of Juneteenth. This powerful moment is part of Project Onyx TV, a new series produced by Shalonda Welborn, our senior director of people operations, and Chinwe Okona, manager of shopper insights. Watch to hear what they had to say.  

Nurturing Equitable Narratives   

Our commitment to racial equity drives us to listen and better understand the experiences of our Black and Brown employees. This understanding enables us to develop programs and policies that support the recruitment, hiring and promotion of more people of color across all levels of our organization, ensuring the best possible employee experience.

One remarkable initiative that brings this commitment to life is our recently launched talent development program, Elevate: Accelerate Your Career, specifically designed for our Black and Latinx/Hispanic talent. Elevate is LS&Co.’s efficacy program, recognizing and addressing the unique experiences and challenges faced by Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals within our workforce. The program empowers participants with the confidence, tools and resources needed to tap into their personal power and build meaningful connections with peers and leaders.

A key strength of Elevate lies in the engagement and development of cohort participants’ managers. We collaborate with managers to enhance their cultural competence, equipping them with the necessary tools, resources and inspiration to become more inclusive, empathetic, agile and skilled people leaders.

Continuing our commitment, we have made significant strides in supporting racial equity and BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations. In 2022, our grants exemplified this dedication, with 55% of the organizations we supported being BIPOC-led, and 46% of our company’s giving advancing racial equity goals. Additionally, in the same year, the Levi Strauss Foundation allocated $12.2 million in grants, the majority of which went to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities in the U.S. as well as marginalized communities worldwide.

Looking Ahead 

Our commitment to racial equity and empowerment remains steadfast as we strive for a more just and inclusive workplace and future. Together, we will continue to make a positive impact within our company and beyond.

Read our 2022 DE&I Impact Report to learn more about the progress we’re making to sustain our culture of inclusion and belonging at LS&Co. and create a just world.