USLChampionship.com spoke with Philadelphia Union 2 and academy player Nathan Harriel along with fellow USL players and coaches to discuss what Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day) means to them.
A commemoration of Union army general Gordon Granger's reading of federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas in 1865 that proclaimed all slaves in the state were thereby free, Juneteenth has been an unofficial American holiday for more than 150 years. In a special edition of From the Pitch, Harriel was joined by Tobi Adewole, George Davis IV, Dre Deas, Jermaine Fordah, Christian Ibeagha, Juan Carlos Obregon Jr., Ben Willis and John Wilson.
“You don’t have to be black to honor or observe this historic event. You don’t even need to be American. You just need to believe in justice and dignity and equality. The more you educate yourself, the more you can help the black community, respond when we are treated unjustly, understand our frustration."
In the piece Harriel discusses that he only learned of Juneteeth during a U.S. History class but believes now it should be a part of everyone's knowledge.
“In today’s generation, more and more people are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement," Harriel said. "We also have social media that connects millions of people around the world. A tremendous amount of people are sharing the importance of Juneteenth. People are understanding and relating to the frustration that is inside of Black Americans, a dissatisfaction just waiting for a time like this to finally be acknowledged.”