Juneteenth has long been a holiday celebrated almost exclusively by Black people in America for more than 100 years. But a newly formed collective is pushing to make it a holiday familiar to and observed by everyone. 

Hella Creative is an organization started by Miles Dotson, Quinnton Harris and Brian Watson. Their initiative Hella Juneteeth is aiming to increase recognition of June 19, the day Black people were finally freed from slavery, while pushing companies and states to officially recognize the day.

Right now, 47 states and Washington D.C. have declared Juneteenth a state holiday, but Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota are still lagging behind.

The idea for Hella Juneteenth came about during a collective happy hour when the three realized the level of influence within their group of friends. Their circle consisted of designers, engineers, models, artists, founders and investors who could all use their power to make impactful change.

The holiday had been two weeks away amid the realization. Two days later, a website was born. 

On the Hella Juneteenth website, templates are available for employees to send to their higher-ups, encouraging them to recognize the day. Additionally, the Hella Creative team has made direct asks to companies themselves. 

The initiative has several components: 

"We have three critical asks — that companies know that we’re committed to see them establish this as a holiday, even without federal recognition. We want people who have influence to take the step to acknowledge the day, and it’s importance to the country and society as a whole. We’ve already seen that happening from the 250+ companies who have committed — many directly as a result of the resources and information that we curated," Dotson, Harris and Watson told Blavity in a statement. 

They said the mission has since taken off, and it has been in large part due to the use of the templates. The initiative even caught Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's eye. 

"A few days later … Jack Dorsey tweeted in support of the initiative. It’s been growing like wildfire since then," the Hella Creative leaders said. 

The project also comes as protests over the killing for George Floyd persist. Several companies, including Twitter, Nike and the NFL, have moved to officially recognize the holiday. 

As of publication, at least 375 companies plan on observing Juneteenth. Additionally, there's now a team of 20 volunteers helping the collective work toward recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

And the collective's founders say this is just the beginning. Not only is the collective asking companies to incorporate the holiday into corporate calendars, they want the greater public to use the day as a way to support Black businesses.

"And of course, we want to highlight the work of Black people, businesses and creators through our effort. This is more than just one day for us. It’s a week — and even that's not enough," the team said. "But we’re not asking anymore, we’re claiming it. 2020 is just the beginning of how this country will recognize and celebrate Juneteenth moving forward."

Celebrations of Juneteenth began in 1866, one year after the fateful day when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger stepped foot in Galveston, Texas, and told the Black enslaved people there that they were officially free. 

The global conversation about racism also inspired companies like Adobe, Mastercard, Lyft, Postmates, Quicken Loans, Square, Uber and retailers Best Buy, Target and J.C. Penney to observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday for employees.

News outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Vox Media, have also jumped in on the cause, giving employees the day off for Juneteenth as well. 

According to USA Today, some banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., U.S. Bank and Fifth Third Bank will be closing early on Friday in observance of Juneteenth.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was criticized after declining to make the day an official company holiday, but he sent out a message to employees urging them to cancel meetings. 

"The reality is that this starts with one day. One day for an economic moment to pour into communities; an educational moment to allow folks to learn the history, including allies; and an institutional moment, where change is written into law and policies. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle to make change happen," the Hella Creative team told Blavity. 

"We still want to see some of the larger tech and finance companies — such as Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and others —  make that move," they added. "We want to see our entertainers voice their support of full recognition of Juneteenth. We want to see the government on every level, alongside the education systems to fully recognize and broaden education on the importance of this moment in U.S. history." 

Some companies, like Electronic Arts, have gone even further, making Juneteenth a paid company holiday and offering employees an additional paid day each year to go out and volunteer. The company is also supporting Black employees in organizing and hosting virtual events and discussions in honor of the day. 

There are multiple petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures aiming to push federal legislators toward making Juneteenth a federal holiday. 

The Hella Creative founders said there are already people within the U.S. Congress working to formalize Juneteenth as a federal holiday and that the group's goal is to support their efforts.

"Our group’s strength and expertise applies largely within the corporate technology and creative industries — where data and measurement are pivotal. Ultimately this means we are able to publicly account for change through data and demonstrate the level of support by companies that will make this change for the future a reality," the team said.

"The level of support translates economically from these companies with the opportunity to be directed towards action that impacts the Black community. That’s a big motivator for change," they added.

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees and said he would be pushing for a law making it a state holiday permanently.