As we shared a couple of weeks ago in a letter from our CEO Corie Barry, Best Buy is committed to doing better; specifically, taking action to address the racial injustice in our society and communities. We’ve created a diverse task force within the company to find and create meaningful change. We’ve committed to creating more than 100 Teen Tech Centers, designed to bridge the opportunity gap and the digital divide, for teens in disinvested communities. And we’ve founded a new public-private effort to provide computers and internet access to thousands of youth who have neither.
Today, we’re building on these actions as our Senior Leadership Team announced two updates that will further empower our employees to create positive changes in their communities by making sure their voices are heard.
When it comes to being heard, there is no better opportunity given to us than on Election Day. This year, for the first time ever, we will shorten our hours of operation on Nov. 3, either by opening late or closing early. This one-day adjustment will include all Best Buy operations: stores and services, including in-home work, field offices and our corporate campus. In addition, we will make the necessary arrangements at our distribution centers and call centers to give employees the time they need. This ensures each employee will have an opportunity to cast a vote in person, if they choose. We will provide specifics well before November.
Yet another opportunity to speak up comes in the context of peaceful protests, rallies and community service. Given that this Friday is the celebration of the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans — known since June 19, 1865, as “Juneteenth” — we have made the decision to give all employees a paid volunteer day that can be used this Friday or any day this year for any of these purposes. Starting next year, Juneteenth will become a formal, paid company holiday. We made the decision to begin this next year only because June 19 is just a few days away, and we wanted to give as much flexibility as possible to accommodate individual schedules.
We are proud to honor Juneteenth and the centuries of struggle, pain, redemption and celebration it represents. We do this with the sincere hope that any employee who chooses to use this time as one of reflection, speech, protest or community service will be able to without worry or cost to them.
Also, our Black Employee Resource Group has created shirts with the message “We Are One” printed for their members, and we’ve decided that this simple statement speaks perfectly to our common humanity and is entirely consistent with our brand and our values. A Best Buy-branded shirt with “We Are One” is being developed and will be available soon to any employee to wear while at work.
Our goal, as always, is to empower employees to advocate and share their voice in the safest possible ways.