Major League Soccer's clubs have been honoring Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, to relay the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
A number of clubs have been taking action to mark Juneteenth, with several announcing that they were closing their offices and pausing first-team training for the day.
Long considered an important holiday in the African American community, Juneteenth is recognized by a number of states. But there is now growing momentum behind calls for the day to become a federal holiday. And MLS clubs are supporting the cause, with several signing on to petitions, including one started by LAFC.
Clubs have also been promoting local events commemorating Juneteenth as well as educational resources to learn about the history of the day and fundraisers for organizations committed to advancing the well-being of Black people.
The league will also be marking the day by hosting an educational seminar for all league office employees. The seminar will feature Toronto FC's Justin Morrow, who serves as executive director of the Black Players Coalition of MLS. The group, featuring over 70 of the league's Black Players, launched on Juneteenth with the mission of addressing "racial inequalities in our league, stand with all those fighting racism in the world of soccer, and positively impact black communities across the United States and Canada."
MLS has pledged its support for the Coalition.