The Portland Timbers and Thorns will honor this weekend's Juneteenth holiday through a series of initiatives during the June 19 and 20 matches at Providence Park, doing so in partnership with Black Players for Change, the Black Women's Players Collective, Major League Soccer, and the National Women's Soccer League.
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. The holiday recognizes the June 19, 1865, military order that enforced emancipation in Texas, the westernmost of the Confederate states. The order came nearly three years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and two-and-a-half years after emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy went into effect.
To honor the holiday, the club will donate $100 for each corner kick won by Portland teams during Saturday's Timbers match against Sporting Kansas City and Sunday's Thorns match against Kansas City NWSL. Donations will be given to the Maurice Lucas Foundation - a Portland-based organization which, named for the former Portland Trail Blazers' power forward, "[creates] opportunities for inner city middle school students by providing a combination of education and activity-based after-school programs" in Portland.
The Maurice Lucas Foundation was selected by Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse in association with Black Players for Change and will also be the beneficiary of a Major League Soccer-wide initiative. On Saturday, Timbers players will wear special-edition jerseys featuring numbers designed by Indianapolis-based artist Israel Solomon. Afterward, the jerseys will be available at auction on at Fanatics.com, with proceeds from their sales going to the foundation.
In addition, Providence Park will serve as the site of a Sunday food drive for the Oregon Food Bank network, with collections beginning at 11 a.m. (two hours before kickoff). The Oregon Food Bank, chosen by Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn in association with the Black Women's Players Collective, "is the coordinating agency for a statewide network of 21 Regional Food Banks and more than 1,400 food assistance sites."As partners in the food drive, Safeway supermarkets will be matching Sunday's donations. For every item collected at Providence Park, Safeway will also contribute one item from its inventories to the Oregon Food Bank network.
For both matches, pregame programming will recognize both Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter, with "Lift Every Voice and Sing" played prior to each kickoff.
Saturday's match between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT, while Sunday's game between the Thorns and Kansas City NWSL is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. PT kickoff.