MLS and Black Players for Change Celebrate June 16 with the Freedom of Being T-shirt number and tender for influential organizations
Major League Soccer (MLS) announced on Wednesday a series of initiatives to celebrate June 16, the historic date in honor of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. All programs are a close collaboration between MLS, the 28 clubs in the league and Black Players for Change (BPC) – an independent organization of black players, coaches and MLS staff working to bridge the gap in racial equality in football and society – and are continuation of the work of MLS to draw attention to the significant contributions of black Americans and to promote more inclusive and equitable communities.
“For me, Juneteenth is a reminder for all Americans to understand and recognize African American history,” said Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson. “Let’s understand how far this country has come, but also to understand how far we have to go.
When the 28 MLS clubs take to the field this weekend (June 18-19), all players will wear T-shirt-inspired T-shirt-inspired T-shirts designed by Judah, a black queer artist from Childersburg, Alabama. Middleton, who now lives in Brooklyn, New York, created the numbers, a vibrant yellow, green, and red color palette, to represent the blood, soil, and prosperity of Africa and its people.
“June is essentially just a celebration of the end of slavery, and for the Black Community it’s a very historic moment,” said Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Calander. “This is a way to connect with our ancestors, all the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.”
Presented in commemorative boxes, the T-shirts worn in the games will be available to fans for purchase through an online auction from June 20 to July 5. Proceeds from the auction will benefit organizations supporting and uplifting black communities in MLS club markets. (A full list of tender beneficiaries can be found below). Additional information about the auction, including how to make a bid, is now available at MLSauctions.com.
“My overall thoughts on Juneteenth are positive, simply because it’s a holiday that’s now nationally recognized,” said Columbus Crew defender Jalil Anibaba. “It’s part of American history, and I think it’s good to be in the forefront so everyone can learn.”
The t-shirt numbers and the limited edition T-shirt package illustrate the history and significance of the Juneteenth and reinforce the idea of ”Freedom to Be”, emphasizing everyone’s inherent freedom to be their true selves in every aspect of life. In the package is the powerful poem “Freedom”, one of the most iconic works of the legendary African-American poet, novelist and public activist Langston Hughes.
Written in 1949, at a time when African Americans continue to face intense racism, disenfranchisement, and segregation, Freedom is adamant in its call for freedom for African Americans. The inside of the package includes a place where MLS players can write a proclamation about what Free To Be is.
“When I think of the Juneteenth, I think of progress, whether it’s the liberation of slaves in 1865 or its recent national holiday,” said New England Revolution goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. “I think our country has always worked to be a place of inclusion, and as we continue to work for it, I think that recognizing it as a national holiday is another big step for us.
MLS continues to support Black Players for Change’s efforts to use its voices and platforms as players to make meaningful and sustainable change. The T-shirt packaging includes a chart describing the historical impact of BPC on MLS and the culture since its inception, including their historic demonstration of #MLSisBlack solidarity, when the league returned safely to action in the summer of 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and their mini-terrain initiative.
In addition to the Juneteenth T-shirts, MLS continues its efforts to activate various initiatives to recognize the Juneteenth. Initiatives include:
- The Black National Anthem (“Raise Every Voice and Sing”) will be played in all 14 MLS games this weekend. Adidas also created a Unity top before the game to celebrate diversity and unity. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase the top before Unity’s match MLSstore.comand in the commercial sites of the stadiums.
- The League will make a donation to 100 black men in America and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women – organizations with which the League partners in 2020, which are focused on promoting mentoring, leadership development and gender equality in health care, education and economics empowering black men, women, boys and girls.
- MLS clubs will also be activated through various initiatives in their home markets to recognize the Juneteenth. For example, Nashville SC has partnered with the National Museum of African American Music to oversee music and entertainment and will honor local African American leaders, military members and community stakeholders through its Section 615, “Match Hero” and military salutation activations. . Columbus SC is creating a commemorative mini-course for the Juneteenth, while FC Cincinnati is participating in the June 18th Cincinnati Festival, and Chicago Fire FC is supporting the Juneteenth Resource Fair of the South Shore Book Club. A full list of plans to commemorate June 16 for all clubs across the league is available at MLSsoccer.com.
- MLS, BPC and Pitch Black, the Black Employees’ League’s resource group, have also joined forces on programs and initiatives to make significant changes both inside and outside MLS. Further details will be available atMLSsoccer.com.
Celebrating and celebrating Juneteenth is the latest initiative in MLS’s efforts to stimulate positive social change and promote racial reconciliation. In November 2021, MLS introduced a series of updates and improvements to its Diversity Policy for club sports.
The changes, created with a working group of club staff, league leaders, Black Players for Change and other current and former MLS players, have been made to increase policy effectiveness, add a specific focus on hiring black candidates and strengthen enforcement. policy mechanisms.
In March 2022, MLS announced that it would use a historic $ 25 million loan from a black bank union, the first time a sports league has engaged in a major trade deal exclusively with black banks. The partnership was facilitated by the non-profit National Black Bank Foundation.
For more information, visit MLSsoccer.com.
MLS and Black Players for Change Commemorate Juneteenth with “Freedom to Be” Jersey Numbers and Auction for Impact Organizations – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link MLS and Black Players for Change Commemorate Juneteenth with “Freedom to Be” Jersey Numbers and Auction for Impact Organizations – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel