The Utah Jazz announced today its plan to designate Juneteenth as an annual paid company holiday for its employees, starting with its observance on Friday, June 19.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is considered the oldest national holiday commemorating emancipation from slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and declared that the Civil War was over and that all those enslaved were now free.
“In the midst of the national conversation and calls for racial justice, our franchise has made the decision to pause, work to further educate ourselves, and reflect on our country’s race relations both past and present by observing Juneteenth,” said Utah Jazz President Jim Olson. “This is an important milestone in our history and another step for us to learn more about freedom for all and the fight for equality, and ideally be part of helping to create meaningful change.”