Today, the Sacramento Kings announced the designation of a company-wide annual paid holiday to observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19, the oldest nationally celebrated holiday commemorating emancipation from slavery in the United States. The anniversary will provide team members an opportunity to pause, further educate themselves and participate in civic engagement.
“We are proud to celebrate Juneteenth, honoring Black history and further committing ourselves to creating positive meaningful change,” said Sacramento Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “The Kings remain dedicated to working with our community to address racial inequity through sustained action.”
The team will continue to share educational resources online at Kings.com/Juneteenth and on social media platforms in the coming days including a video produced by the organization’s Black and Beyond employee resource group, whose goal is to support and promote the talent of Black team members through professional development and community service initiatives.
Kings team members will participate in the Black Child Legacy Campaign (BCLC) and Build.Black. “Week of Action” which includes community conversations and peace marches for these events, the team has donated 10,000 masks to event organizers for participating guests and volunteers.. The team will also support the 26th annual Juneteenth festival to take place this year virtually from June 19-28.
Earlier this month, the Kings developed and announced a “Pledge to Our Black Community” to help combat social and racial injustice and invest in meaningful change. The team also debuted a PSA calling for unity and action in the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of police, in collaboration with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx and Sacramento Area Youth Speaks. Additionally, on June 6, Kings players, coaches, executives and team members joined “A Peaceful Protest for Our Rights” that began at Golden 1 Center and ended at Cesar Chavez Plaza. Kings Assistant Coach Bobby Jackson helped to organize the peaceful community protest and tipped off the program calling for unity and justice. Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé addressed the crowd of thousands gathered, saying, “We have just one message – Black Lives Matter.” Kings forward Harrison Barnes also spoke about the importance of protesting to raise awareness and showing up at the voting booth.
The Kings have worked to addressed social injustices, including systemic inequality, through partnerships and programs aimed at creating safe spaces for Black youth in Sacramento, fostering open and honest conversations and reducing stigma around incarcerated individuals. Over the past two years, the Kings have partnered with the Build.Black. Coalition to deeply invest in Black youth locally, launched the Team Up for Change summit series to address issues of social injustice and participated as the first NBA team to host a Play for Justice game at Folsom Prison. To learn more, visit Kings.com.