Vancouver Whitecaps FC players wore the club’s Unity jersey during team training on Friday to mark Juneteenth, the annual holiday that honours the abolition of slavery in the United States.
This year marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, when Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger traveled to Texas after the American Civil War and issued an order to liberate African American slaves on June 19, 1865. The historical event occurred two years after American President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, stating all slaves in the states were free. However, many slave owners held their slaves captive before Juneteenth.
'Freedom’ was crested on the Unity jerseys in different languages spoken by 'Caps players: English, French, Twi, Arabic, Portuguese, Korean and Serbian. The jerseys will be signed and auctioned online, with net proceeds being donated to Hogan’s Alley Society.
Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS) is a Vancouver-based non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the social, political, economic and cultural well-being of people of Black descent in Vancouver and British Columbia through the delivery of inclusive housing, built spaces and culturally informed programming and operations. Its vision is a society in which people of African descent are able to reach their full authentic potential free from racism.
"Juneteenth is a day that should serve as motivation to continue the pursuit of change and equality," said Whitecaps FC forward Tosaint Ricketts. "Hogan's Alley Society is an organization that is vital to the preservation of Vancouver's Black community. We're happy to partner with the society and ready to lend our support."
HAS is composed of civil rights activists, business professionals, community organizations, artists, writers and academics committed to daylighting the presence of Black history in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia. HAS adopts a research driven approach to community development that seeks to preserve and promote the historical, cultural, societal and economic contributions made by Black Settlers and their descendants to Vancouver, Greater Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest and Canada. With this history in the archives, HAS is in the process of developing partnerships with local government and business interests to acquire and develop land and operate assets as a community land trust.
“I’m proud that our club has stepped up to advocate for freedom and anti-racism, especially during this time,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos. “We have a very diverse group of players from all over the world and it's important for us to show unity when our communities need it the most.”
For more information on Hogan’s Alley Society, visit hogansalleysociety.org.
To auction for these Whitecaps FC Unity jerseys in support of Hogan’s Alley Society, visit whitecapsfc.com/auction until July 10, 2020 at 5 p.m. PT.