Juneteenth, the too-often-overlooked June 19 holiday celebrating the day in 1865 when slaves were officially freed, is at last having a moment of recognition.
Amid ongoing nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd, which saw millions speak up about institutional racism and police brutality, some are starting to have more honest conversations about race and racial inequality, a large part of which includes listening and learning for the more privileged.
In the sports world, institutions of power like the NFL and NBA decided to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees, certainly a step in the right direction.
And here in Philadelphia, the city's pro sports teams all took steps Friday to commemorate and celebrate the holiday:
The Phillies posted a list of partner organizations "making a positive impact within the Black community":
On this day of reflection and learning, we’re proud to highlight some organizations we work with that are making a positive impact within the Black community: https://t.co/WSrl4dhvqt#Juneteenth pic.twitter.com/fPimN1FMgI— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) June 19, 2020
Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen posted a link to a petition aimed at making Juneteenth a national holiday:
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) June 19, 2020
Earlier this week, the Eagles sent a team-wide email informing all employees that the NovaCare Complex offices would be closed Friday in observation of Juneteenth.
In future years, the Eagles said, the organization plans to participate in "social justice community service events" to commemorate the importance of the day.
The team also decided to use its Twitter account on Friday to use its platform for good, and highlight local organizations "leading the way":
Here's a list of the organizations the team highlighted:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence
- The University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center for Community Partnerships
- Frontline Dads
- Philly Mothers in Charge
- Philadelphia Auto & Parole
- Philadelphia Futures
- Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center
- The Center for Returning Citizens - Philly
- Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project - Philly
Running back Miles Sanders also shared a simple but uplifting Juneteenth message:
Celebrate Freedom!— Miles Sanders (@BoobieMilesXXIV) June 19, 2020
The Flyers announced they would be using their Twitter account Friday to "amplify impactful messages and inclusive community programs":
In honor of Juneteenth, we will be taking a pause from our normal hockey content and will be using our platform to amplify impactful messages and inclusive community programs.— x-Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 19, 2020
So far, they've retweeted posts from the @discoverPHL, NHL Network, and Penn Medicine accounts:
Celebrate Juneteenth on NHL Network. pic.twitter.com/syQIRl5l2G— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 19, 2020
Today on #Juneteenth, we ask the entire Penn community to reflect on what we can do to dismantle systemic racism and structural barriers to equality. Together, we will listen, learn, and lead. These efforts can no longer wait. Now is the time to act. pic.twitter.com/eXcN9GxVb3— Penn Medicine (@PennMedicine) June 19, 2020
The Sixers shared a message giving background on the holiday:
The Union haven't yet tweeted about Juneteenth, but they spent the morning on Twitter recognizing and amplifying the newly-founded Black Players Coalition of Major League Soccer:
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) June 19, 2020
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