June 20, 2020 / 8:36 AM / 2 months ago

Lakers owner calls for unity against racism on Juneteenth

(Reuters) - LA Lakers owner Jeannie Buss said on Friday, the Juneteenth holiday, that she is no longer willing to ignore hate and called on white people to come together and acknowledge the racism that exists in the United States.

FILE PHOTO: The Los Angeles Lakers logo is pictured past the profile of Lakers spokesman John Black during a news briefing regarding the death of longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss, at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo, California, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Juneteenth commemorates the U.S. abolition of slavery under President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, belatedly announced by a Union army in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, after the Civil War ended.

Thousands marched through U.S. cities on Friday, capping nearly four weeks of protests and national soul-searching sparked by the death of a Black man, George Floyd, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

In a post on Instagram, Buss shared a picture of a note containing offensive language from a person named Joe, who described himself as a “huge Lakers fan”, that she said she received on Monday.

The note, which opens with the words “Dear whore”, tells Buss to “go to hell and join Kobe Bryant.”

The picture here contains three words that have been blacked out with a marker pen, including what appears to be a strong racial slur as well as the surname of the person who sent it.

“After much thought, I decided to share this letter I received on Monday so that everyone can see the hate is real and living out there. This is happening in our world TODAY. Its real and it exists,” Buss said in a post accompanying the picture.

“I have received letters like this over the years. The advice I always got? “Ignore it.” I did. But not anymore.

“On this day, Juneteenth, I ask my white friends to join together, acknowledge the racism that exists in our country and around the world, and pledge to stop ignoring it. We all must do better.”

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry

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