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Showcasing the works of Black leaders in Washington, D.C. and the Black Women’s Players Collective
Washington, D.C. (06/14/2023) – The Washington Spirit will observe Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, on Monday, June 19. Juneteenth, our nation’s youngest holiday, was signed into law and designated a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. It commemorates the day the Emancipation Proclamation took effect across the nation.
“On this occasion, we recognize the importance of Juneteenth and reflect upon the resilience, strength, and contributions of Black Americans throughout history.” said Spirit Vice President and General Counsel Shameeka Quallo. “Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the progress we have made and the work that still lies ahead. At the Spirit, we believe in the power of diversity, equity and inclusion, and our efforts on and off the pitch are ongoing.”
In observance of the holiday, the Spirit have a number of on-and off-the-pitch activities planned. On June 10 when the Spirit hosted Angel City FC, legendary coach Lincoln Phillips from Howard University and the Washington Darts served as the team’s honorary captain. Today, in the team’s Challenge Cup match versus the North Carolina Courage, Rev. Thomas Bowen, Director, Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs, will serve as honorary captain.
On June 18, Spirit players will wear Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) designed Juneteenth t-shirts during pre-match warmups against Kansas City as part of a league-wide initiative to commemorate the holiday. The shirts are available for sale online with a portion of all net proceeds going to both BWPC and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) in support of each organization’s respective initiatives and advocacy work.
Additionally, the Spirit will honor four Black leaders from DC in a video series on Washington Spirit social media channels. The first video will be released on June 15, with individual stories released daily until June 18. Phillips and Bowen, along with Queen Anunay (Assistant Fire Chief of EMS Operations), and Charity Blackwell (community leader, poet, and spoken artist) are set to be featured.
The Spirit acknowledge the profound impact of Juneteenth and how it has reshaped our country beyond the day itself. Below are suggestions from Spirit staff on how fans in the Washington, D.C area can celebrate Juneteenth:
Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will host a free Juneteenth Community Day on Saturday, June 17, featuring arts and crafts for all ages, live music, gardening demos and much more. The museum also features a virtual resource on the Juneteenth holiday complete with exclusive programming, videos, a social media toolkit, testimonials and more.
See the Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives
From June 17-19, the National Archives will display the original Emancipation Proclamation and its companion document, General Order No. 3, which granted freedom to the last enslaved people in Galveston, TX three years after the Proclamation was issued. Due to its fragility, the Emancipation Proclamation can only see 36 hours of sunlight per year, so this display is rare.
Additional ways to celebrate the Juneteenth can be found HERE.