The Houston Texans will close their business and football offices on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, celebrated as the official "Emancipation Day" in the United States. Employees, who are mostly still working from home, are encouraged to reflect on how they can contribute to social justice on this holiday.
Juneteenth, which commemorates the date June 19, 1865, marks the official end of slavery in Texas and remaining states in the South. Freedom for an estimated 250,000 black men and women in Texas came two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. When Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his troops announced the end of the Civil War with an executive decree, bringing the news to the remaining enslaved people that they had been freed.
Texan Chairman and CEO Cal McNair has been outspoken on using his platform to create awareness of racism endured by blacks every day. George Floyd's brutal killing in police custody last month sparked worldwide outrage and recent protests for racial equality and social injustice. The McNair family, along with Texans coaches and players, attended Floyd's funeral in Houston June 9 and have launched a new video series, "Conversations for Change."
Last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the NFL will observe Juneteenth as a recognized holiday and the league's offices will also be closed this Friday.
"This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed," Goodell wrote in an internal memo to staff. "It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."