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Saints, Pelicans make Juneteenth a paid company holiday

For the first time this Friday, Juneteenth (June 19) will be a paid day off for players and staff in the organizations.

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans franchises have joined the movement to recognize Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., as a company holiday. 

According to ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett, the decision was made by Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, along with Dennis Lauscha, the president of the franchises. 

For the first time this Friday, Juneteenth (June 19) will be a paid day off for players and staff in the organizations.

The Saints join a growing wave of professional franchises to recognize the holiday. It comes as businesses balance how to fight racism and support black employees in the wake of George Floyd's death and global protests demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality.

Nationally, Google, Nike and Target have joined a growing list of companies around the country that have decided to give their employees time off for Juneteenth, June 19. 

RELATED: These companies are giving their employees time off for Juneteenth

The June 19 holiday of Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the United States was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in January of 1863. However, it took much longer for news to spread. So, this news didn’t reach slaves in Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. Union General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to African-Americans. Those slaves were so happy about their freedom that they started dancing and celebrating, and generations have celebrated on June 19 ever since.

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