The Vikings are among the growing wave of teams choosing to close headquarters Friday to recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday.
Called Juneteenth, June 19 is celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States, acknowledging the day in 1865 when Texas became the final state to receive word that slaves had been freed.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week the league would close its offices. Teams like the Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers have followed. The Vikings recently sent educational resources about Juneteenth to employees and will consider keeping June 19 a company holiday moving forward.
“This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed,” Goodell said in a statement last week. “It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future.”
It is not a federal holiday, but Juneteenth has been a state holiday in Texas since 1980, and nearly every state recognizes the day in some fashion except for North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii. Many Minnesota-based companies have also moved to establish Juneteenth as an official holiday, including Target Corp., Best Buy and U.S. Bank.
The NFL’s announcement came after a pledge of $250 million over 10 years to “combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans.”
The Vikings responded with a $5 million pledge from the Wilf ownership to social justice work across the country. The team’s social justice committee also announced a $125,000 endowment for a scholarship in George Floyd’s name. Coaches and players have also helped lead team-wide talks about racial injustice and police brutality.