Athletes are amplifying their voices on Juneteenth. The occasion celebrates the day the last enslaved African Americans were informed of their freedom. That occurred in Galveston Bay, Texas, on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
On Friday, a number of athletes, teams and professional leagues expressed their thoughts about Juneteenth. Some took the day as an opportunity to celebrate Black liberation, others used their platform to educate people and push for Juneteenth to become a national holiday.
On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Texas were free- two and a half years after slavery was abolished in the United States. On Juneteenth, we celebrate Black liberation. #Juneteenth ✊🏿🙏🏿❤️ pic.twitter.com/26jx5fdDfx
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 19, 2020
JUNETEENTH...!! FREEDOM 🙏🏾
— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) June 19, 2020
Gauff, 16, also posted an explainer for those who don’t know what Juneteenth celebrates.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) June 19, 2020
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell also celebrated the occasion, but made sure people realize what Juneteenth is all about.
Happy Emancipation Day! It is vital to remember how this day represents not only freedom, but how the news of that freedom was withheld. The fight continues. #blacklivesmatter #juneteenth @NBA @SLAMonline @BleacherReport
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 19, 2020
Edwin Jackson, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen were among the athletes pushing to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The three posted a petition to make the day a holiday in the United States.
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) June 19, 2020
Justise Winslow and Caron Butler made similar points about making Juneteenth a national holiday.
"Just try to indulge in our culture and the beauty of it." - Justise Winslow on his plans for #Juneteenth
Tune in to @IAmJustise’s full conversation with Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET on @NBA. pic.twitter.com/CSoeYBkTN6
— NBA (@NBA) June 19, 2020
Illinois coach Lovie Smith asked others to “Teach. Listen. Listen.”
— Lovie Smith (@LovieSmith) June 19, 2020
A number of teams also posted about Juneteenth. While many teams posted statements, a few produced videos explaining the meaning of the day.
We've never posted about Juneteenth, but it is always the right time to do better than before.
Today is a reflection of freedom, a day to celebrate and educate. pic.twitter.com/BOsLIEdwc5
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