JCPenney Builds on Long-standing Tradition of Diversity and Inclusion with Juneteenth Celebrations
JCPenney today unveils a multipoint celebration of Juneteenth honoring Dr. Opal Lee - the "Grandmother of Juneteenth" - and affirming the company's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity-a tradition that hails back to the company's earliest days. Founded on the principle of The Golden Rule, JCPenney continues its emphasis on serving communities and diverse, working American families. For Juneteenth, JCPenney will put that mission into action with a mix of events, products and philanthropic commitments to honor the holiday and benefit the work of Dr. Opal Lee in Fort Worth and across the country.
"We are so honored to celebrate Juneteenth with special events and a new Hope & Wonder collection that allows us to give back and help Opal Lee spread her message of freedom and unity," says Val Harris, senior vice president, design, brand management and trend at JCPenney. "These efforts are the result of creative collaboration across many parts of the organization and JCPenney is so pleased to come together to honor this moment."
JCPenney has announced several initiatives to mark this year's Juneteenth. Events to commemorate Juneteenth kicked off on May 17 with a virtual event featuring Opal Lee herself called, "Walking for Freedom: A Juneteenth Discussion with Dr. Opal Lee." The conversation reflected on the significance of Juneteenth and its designation as a federal holiday, Dr. Lee's ongoing advocacy and community work, and the freedom journey that continues to this day. The broadcast streamed live on Facebook and YouTube and a replay can be viewed here.
On Saturday, June 18, a day before Juneteenth itself (Sunday, June 19), JCPenney will join Dr. Lee in Fort Worth, TX for Opal's Walk for Freedom, building on a tradition she began in 2016 with 2.5-mile walks representing the 2.5 years it took Emancipation Proclamation enforcement to reach Texas. Now a nationwide event, Opal's Walk for Freedom will be organized by community organizations in select cities across the country. JCPenney will also sponsor a "virtual" Opal's Walk with JCPenney associates in other locations who want to join in with a self-directed 2.5-mile walk of their own.
"JCPenney's Juneteenth Hope & Wonder Collection and national sponsorship of Opal's Walk for Freedom speaks volumes about their commitment to diversity and inclusion," said Dione Sims, Executive Director of Unity Unlimited, Inc. the producers of the Walk and granddaughter of Dr. Lee. "Their generous donation will go a long way in supporting our mission to educate the country about the significance of Juneteenth as a national holiday that can bring people together and start the healing of America."
JCPenney will also mark the holiday with the launch of a new Juneteenth collection from Hope & Wonder™, a private label brand of collections designed to engage the community in a positive way and bring key cultural and seasonal moments to life. Hope & Wonder is a multifaceted private brand that leverages the Company's national platform to raise awareness, celebrate diversity and uplift our communities. This brand empowers our associates to design and create a product that best represents the moment, play a key role in selecting our nonprofit partners and even participate as models in marketing material. JCPenney donates 100% of net profits from the four cultural moment collections to nonprofit partners; the Juneteenth collection supports Opal's Walk for Freedom, presented by Unity Unlimited.
Introduced in January 2022, Hope & Wonder, a private brand exclusively at JCPenney, is the latest JCPenney initiative designed to make a positive impact on families and communities. In recent months, the Company has announced purpose-driven offerings and programs including the fully inclusive JCPenney Beauty, a shop-in-shop experience featuring products by Black and Brown founders with Thirteen Lune, the Young, Gifted and Black Design Challenge for HBCU students, a long-term charitable partnership with Muhammad Ali Enterprises and Thereabouts™, an inclusive brand for kids that celebrates diversity of shapes, sizes, styles, and abilities. JCPenney will continue to be inspired by the uniqueness of its customers to create experiences and products that make a difference.
JCPenney is the shopping destination for diverse, working American families. With inclusivity at its core, the Company's product assortment meets customers' everyday needs and helps them commemorate every special occasion with style, quality and value. JCPenney offers a broad portfolio of fashion, apparel, home, beauty and jewelry from national and private brands and provides personal services including salon, portrait and optical. The Company and its 50,000 associates worldwide serve customers where, when and how they want to shop - from jcp.com to more than 650 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
In 2022, JCPenney celebrates 120 years as an iconic American brand by continuing its legacy of connecting with customers through shopping and community engagement. Please visit JCPenney's Newsroom to learn more and follow JCPenney on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Unity Unlimited
Founded in 2000, Unity Unlimited, Inc. is a non-profit organization that embodies the values and life service of Opal Lee throughout her seven decades as an educator, volunteer, civic leader, civil rights organizer, and national advocate for the Juneteenth National Holiday movement. The organization's main mission is providing educational activities and resources to foster unity and harmony within the community, the city, the state, the nation, and the world regardless of race, culture or denomination. Today, Unity Unlimited operates at the intersection of grass-roots social services, running programs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area such as the Ft. Worth Juneteenth celebration, Opal's Farm, Your Voice Unleashed musical programming, Secret Santa, and Opal's Walk for Freedom (national).