At Micron, we strongly believe that shared understanding, particularly of our colleagues’ culture and history, is key to creating a workplace for all. One of our FY21 diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) commitments is to strengthen our culture of inclusion, with responsibility for advancing this commitment owned by Micron’s chief people officer.
Shared understanding includes recognizing, acknowledging, supporting and celebrating culturally significant events like Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.
Micron recognizes new federal holiday and creates company holiday
On Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The law went into effect immediately, and on June 18, Micron Chief People Officer April Arnzen announced it will be a paid Micron U.S. holiday beginning in 2022. Team members are encouraged to use the paid time off to learn about, reflect on and act for social justice.
“Celebrating Juneteenth at Micron means we recognize the past and are committed to taking responsibility for a better, more inclusive future. It is a time for celebration, but it is also a time for reflection, education and a renewed commitment to equality for all,” April said in her team member announcement.
Micron panel focuses on artificial intelligence and diversity
For Juneteenth, April and her colleagues, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Sharawn Connors, Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Mehrotra and Vice President of Yield, Technology and Data Science Scott Gatzemeier, hosted a fireside chat with Obed Louissaint, senior vice president of Transformation and Culture at IBM, on artificial intelligence (AI) and diversity and inclusion.
The group talked about the ethical use of AI to ensure it enhances inclusivity. Obed said IBM’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in AI is a natural alignment of the “embrace race pledge” the company made last year. Following the killing of George Floyd, IBM pledged not to remain silent on issues of racial injustice.
“And you know, as we progressed through the year, we saw significant challenges that rose not only with our Black community but with our Asian community, with stop Asian hate and with anti-Semitism. When you can have a very specific conversation, you can get to the root of particular issues.”
Obed said IBM is using those learnings in its approach to developing AI, “As we introduce new technology ... our responsibility is an element of our stewardship to educate in order to make sure that what is developed is good responsible technology.”
Other Micron events also celebrate Juneteenth and diversity
Both the Boise, Idaho, and Manassas, Virginia, sites also hosted additional speakers on June 18, providing the historical context for the Juneteenth holiday and the importance of continued support of its legacy of freedom, education and achievement.
At the Boise site, the Boise Black Employee Network (BEN) employee resource group hosted a discussion with the director of the Idaho Black History Museum, Phillip Thompson. He shared the history on what happened after the Emancipation Proclamation formalized the end of slavery. He also discussed the transition of formerly enslaved people, which differed in parts of the country. For example, the announcement of the proclamation was delayed for two years in Texas, and Juneteenth commemorates that final announcement.
At the Manassas site, the BEN chapter hosted Manassas Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger. Being the first Black woman to serve, Michelle embodies dreams realized in the legacy of Juneteenth. During her fireside chat, she discussed the importance of her platform for creating opportunities and being accessible to her constituents, the unique challenges faced being a community leader in a historically segregated town, and ways that kindness and openness in leadership create bonds and opportunity for understanding.
In addition to panel discussions, several Micron sites participated in raising a flag designed for the BEN employee resource group, and some even lit up their sites with lights in the BEN colors of red, black and green. Soul food and desserts were provided by Black-owned businesses at site cafeterias in Boise, Lehi, Utah, and Manassas. In Folsom, California, a soul food truck offered options to team members at that site. And desserts from Black-owned businesses were available at the site in San Jose, California.