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Our Voices Utah Football

"Freedom Day is a significant day for the African American culture in the United States.

It was the day that finally freed all slaves in America. It unfortunately wasn't the end of slavery, however. Explicitly stated in the Thirteenth Amendment, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

In other words, all American citizens are free until they are convicted of a crime. From the day the emancipation proclamation was issued, African Americans were arrested for very minor crimes such as loitering and other small misdemeanors at alarming rates, some illegitimate I can only assume, and essentially thrust right back into slavery, otherwise known as prison. The strides we as a country have made since then are night and day, but as you can clearly see today, we are far from perfect.

It is on us to continue to make strides to abolish all racial injustice for good.

How you might ask? Inform one another. When talking to my caucasian friends, the response I get the majority of time is “I don’t know how it feels” when referring to the racial injustice African Americans and all minorities in the U.S. experience. And how could you? It is not your fault.

But if you don’t want to learn about how this happened, and how we can stop this, you are a part of the problem.

The same goes for all my brotha’s and sista’s and people of all color. If you are not willing to share the experiences that you are comfortable sharing to help give a better understanding of what being an African American in the U.S. is like and help accelerate the learning curve for non-minorities, you too are a part of the problem.

As much as we may want it to, nothing is going to happen overnight. Just like everything in life, it is about consistency.

I fully believe if we continue to progress every day, one day my kids or even my grandchildren will never have to experience any sort of racial prejudice or police brutality."

- #20 Devin Lloyd

“Juneteenth means that black, young men and women could have the opportunities that they could only dream of. I wouldn’t be here on this stage without previous strong black figures in society.”

- #55 Nick Ford

“Being a product of an interracial marriage, my father being black and my mother being white, it’s easy for one to sit there and question what ‘side’ I am on.

It’s not Black vs. White. It’s Racist vs. Non-racist.

Juneteenth becoming a national holiday is a huge step in our country and I am glad it is receiving the national honor it deserves.

The fight for equality is not a sprint, it is a marathon. It's just getting started.”

- #83 Cameron Gardner

“Recognizing the place and the emotional state the world is in currently, it’s very refreshing to have a holiday come around in which we recognize those that were less fortunate and in this case, those that were enslaved prior to 1865.

From my understanding, Juneteenth is a globally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery. A day in which we celebrate the freeing of slaves which took place June 19, 1865.

As a student-athlete, I am more than blessed to be able to celebrate this day as a black man in the world today.”

- #21 Clark Phillips III