Friday will be an important day for the Bulls. So will future Election days.
Internally, Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf has introduced paid time off annually for Juneteenth, which celebrates Union forces, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arriving in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 and proclaiming all slaves in the state free by executive decree. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it wasn't until the Union's victory in the Civil War that it was enforced in states once under Confederate control — Texas being the last.
The Bulls also plan to feature paid time off for each future Election days.
Reinsdorf, who revealed the organization’s plans during a virtual Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce meeting with other local sports franchise leaders Thursday, also has invited front office staff, players, coaches, ambassadors and broadcasters to participate in Friday’s peace march led by Bright Star Church Chicago.
“Over the last few weeks, we have started having powerful and honest conversations with our players, coaches, front office and community leaders and will continue to have an open dialogue about racial injustice and police brutality, especially in our Black communities,” a Bulls spokesperson said. “We are developing longer-term plans designed to bring us together for real change.”
Speaking on a conference call with reporters last week, Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young both revealed that Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ new executive vice president of basketball operations, encouraged open dialogue on the subject of racial equality and police brutality. Coach Jim Boylen also participated in the discussion, which took place remotely via a Zoom teleconference.
Friday’s march, which also will feature faith and community leaders from across Chicagoland, will provide an opportunity for the organization to learn about the significance of Juneteenth and demonstrate “support through an action-based demonstration for the Black Lives Matter movement,” the spokesperson said.
The organization has plans to encourage voter registration and participation for this and future election seasons. The paid time off for Election days is an avenue to advancing the understanding of racism in America and to take action against it by voting in local and national elections.