Ikea promised to be more careful about how it celebrates this day in the future.
Photo: pasja1000 / Pixabay
On Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed a bill to officially declare June 19 a federal holiday that will be known as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day.
The holiday, which had already been celebrated on June 19 of each year, marks the end of slavery in the United States, which finally came in 1865, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In an effort to join the June 19 celebration and honor its employees, an IKEA store in the state of Georgia decided to offer a coexistence to the workers where some dishes were served.
The problem was that the store gave a special menu that included fried chicken and watermelon. It should be noted that these two foods are commonly used to stereotype African Americans.
In honor of the day of celebration, other companies announced paid days off for employees, educational programs to generate equity, as well as donations to organizations that fight against racism, but the Ikea Atlanta branch decided to give these foods, which some people they interpreted it as a racist act.
“To honor the perseverance of African Americans and recognize the progress that still needs to be made, we celebrate Juneteenth this Saturday, June 19, 2021. Look for a special menu on Saturday that will include: fried chicken, watermelon, mac n cheese, potato salad, collard greens, yam confit“Said an email that the company sent to its workers.
Immediately, the menu sparked outrage among the more than 20 employees who decided to stop their operations in protest. Some of them argued that it is common knowledge that watermelon used to be fed to black slaves in the pre-emancipation era.
Faced with this reaction, the Atlanta store manager sent a reply apologizing for the menu, which read: “I really apologize if the menu turned out to be subjective. It was created with the best of intentions by some of our co-workers who believed they were representing their culture and tradition with these celebratory foods. “
Ikea also issued an apology regarding this incident:
“In addition to marking June 18 as one of our national paid holidays, our IKEA Atlanta store has recognized June 18 with our co-workers for the past four years. To honor the day, a lunch menu was created with the best of intentions, including recommendations from African American co-workers. “
The statement ended by saying that they sincerely apologize and that the company is committed to carefully honoring this celebration in the future.
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