JIm Olson

Jazz to observe Juneteenth as company holiday

Employees to participate in virtual viewing of John Lewis movie

The Utah Jazz announced today its plan to designate Juneteenth as an annual paid company holiday for its employees, starting with its observance on Friday, June 19. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is considered the oldest national holiday commemorating emancipation from slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and declared that the Civil War was over and that all those enslaved were now free.

“In the midst of the national conversation and calls for racial justice, our franchise has made the decision to pause, work to further educate ourselves, and reflect on our country’s race relations both past and present by observing Juneteenth,” said Utah Jazz President Jim Olson. “This is an important milestone in our history and another step for us to learn more about freedom for all and the fight for equality, and ideally be part of helping to create meaningful change.”

As part of collective efforts to learn more about the history of race in America, Jazz employees and the NBA family will have access on Friday to watch “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” the new Magnolia Pictures, Participant, and Color Farm Media film about the life and legacy of John Lewis. The movie chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration. Using present-day interviews with Lewis, now 80, the film explores his childhood experiences, his inspiring family and his fateful meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. 

The Jazz organization along with all Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment properties such as the Salt Lake Bees, Megaplex Theatres, Vivint Smart Home Arena and The Zone Sports Network encourages its employees and partners to participate in local Juneteenth celebrations and use the day for reflection and introspection.

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