SAY celebrates Juneteenth!
For many of the staff and youth here at SAY, recognizing Juneteenth as an annual holiday is an important step forward towards creating a more inclusive environment. The decision to add this celebration to our list of scheduled holidays was made in the Fall of 2020 as part of our on-going DEI work. SAY leadership saw this adjustment as a simple yet impactful way to make a difference.
“We knew this was an area that we could improve to make some positive changes and observe holidays that, quite honestly, should have been observed a long time ago,” says Alicia Castro, SAY’s Human Resources Manager.
Not only does the new holiday schedule recognize a more diverse set of holidays, such as Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth, but it also benefits a broader range of employees. “We have a very diverse working schedule here at SAY,” Castro says. “SAY has a lot of employees who work weekends, who work nights, who don’t have a traditional schedule.”
Staff members who work on Saturdays have the opportunity to take today as a paid holiday, a decision that sets a positive example for the youth in our programs. By acknowledging celebrations that represent diverse communities, SAY strives to ensure that every one of our staff and youth feel heard.
Another welcome addition to this new schedule are the three floating holidays for staff members to use at their personal discretion. Providing more space for personal choice is a huge part of appreciating our staff, and allows each individual to honor their own individual days of celebration.
Castro has noticed that many of SAY’s community partners are embracing a similar approach to DEI work and recognition of a more diverse set of holidays, and is excited for this momentum to continue.
“I think that this is a philosophy that helps create a healthier organization, when you focus on the people who are doing the work. That is the type of culture that we have at SAY. I think that it makes a difference in so many areas.”