The Chicago Bears have announced a series of changes to team policy as the Juneteenth holiday approaches, including closing their offices on Friday in honor of the holiday.
According to a press release from the team, the Bears will designate Juneteenth as a team holiday from now on, joining the NFL in making that change.
“Employees and fans are encouraged to learn about and celebrate the holiday, along with considering ways to be an active participant in the fight for equality and making a positive impact in our communities,” the team said in the release.
In addition to closing team offices, the Bears will publish a series of videos from players, who will explain what Juneteenth means to them and how they celebrate the holiday.
Running back Tarik Cohen will also take over the team’s Instagram page, giving fans an inside look at his family’s celebration of the holiday.
Finally, the Bears will spearhead a special donation campaign, designed to raise money for the DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago.
Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19 to mark the day when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and declared an end to the Civil War.
There is a large push for more observations of the holiday in the wake of several high-profile news stories, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The NFL announced that it will observe the holiday at its league offices, and several other teams have also said they will incorporate the holiday into their corporate calendars.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says all flags around the state will be lowered to half-mast to mark the holiday, and the city of Chicago is mulling plans to declare Juneteenth an official city holiday, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.