Cavaliers Announce Juneteenth Will Be Annual Paid Company Holiday

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The Cleveland Cavaliers announced they will recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for their employees starting Friday.

Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs

Effective this Friday, June 19th, #JuneteenthDay will be observed as an annual paid holiday for our entire organization.

We encourage everyone to use this day to learn more about freedom for all, the fight for equality, and the struggle to end racial injustice.

Last week, the NFL took the step to formally acknowledge Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday, and the Denver Broncos followed suit Monday.  

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, but the executive order didn’t itself free the United States’ slave population.

Not until June 19, 1865, did Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrive in Galveston, Texas, where news of the Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t been widespread. Granger announced the terms of the order and the end of the Civil War, at which point the last remaining slaves were informed of their freedom.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was then ratified on Dec. 6, 1865.

The Congressional Research Service noted the first celebration of Juneteenth dates back to 1866:

“Texans celebrated Juneteenth beginning in 1866, with community-centric events, such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, and musical performances. Over time, communities have developed their own traditions. Some communities purchased land for Juneteenth celebrations, such as Emancipation Park in Houston, TX. As families emigrated from Texas to other parts of the United States, they carried the Juneteenth celebrations with them.”

All but three states have officially recognized Juneteenth. Given the ongoing protests, which have drawn more attention toward the issues of systemic racism and social injustice, calls have grown for private employers to treat Juneteenth as a day of observance, as well.

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