Louisville Parks and Recreation to partner with BPC, BWPC and U.S. Soccer Foundation for Juneteenth Celebration

June 10, 2022
Petersburg Park Cookout Event

 

The Cookout is a free event to be held at the mini-pitch in Petersburg Park

Louisville Parks and Recreation, Black Players for Change (BPC), Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will host their first-ever joint event, The Cookout, on June 19, 2022 in celebration of Juneteenth.

Taking place at the recently completed mini-pitch in Petersburg Park, 5008 E. Indian Trail, the family-friendly event will offer free food to those in attendance, provided by Boss Hog's BBQ Food Truck, while supplies last. Additionally, professional athletes will be in attendance to participate in soccer scrimmages with the public. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m.

Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday commemorating the final communication of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Observed every year on June 19, the holiday originated in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, when soldiers gave residents notice of the end of slavery, nearly two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In June 2020, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed an executive order recognizing the day as an official holiday for Louisville Metro Government (LMG) workers, and early the next year, he established a 16-member Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission to design an annual celebration here. More information about the city’s 2022 celebration is at juneteenthlou.com

“We are pleased to partner with organizations like the U.S. Soccer Foundation, BPC and BWPC, all of which work tirelessly to eliminate racial inequity in sports and in community,” Mayor Fischer said. “We are looking forward to celebrating Juneteenth and Black excellence – on and off the pitch – with the entire city.”

“And,” he added, “as we get ready to host the inaugural USL Summer Showcase next month, the June 19th event is also another opportunity to show Louisville’s love of soccer – the fastest-growing sport in the nation.”

Petersburg Park’s mini-pitch was officially unveiled in October 2021 and honors members of BPC and BWPC – with women of the BWPC featured in imagery surrounding the pitch. It was built as part of an initiative by the U.S. Soccer Foundation aimed at removing systemic barriers to the sport for youth of color and is a partnership between BPC, BWPC, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting and adidas.

“From our origin, Black Players for Change has been dedicated to using soccer as our vehicle to generate sustainable change,” said Earl Edwards Jr, President of Black Players for Change. “Collaborating with these like-minded organizations, providing access to the beautiful game, and celebrating such a historic occasion is the perfect culmination, and example, of why we established the BPC. We look forward to everyone coming out to celebrate!”

“We are thrilled to celebrate Juneteenth with BPC and BWPC and our partners at Louisville Parks and Recreation,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Activating these mini-pitches and ensuring that children and families have safe places to play the game ensures that our sport is more inclusive and accessible to all.”

Together, BPC and BWPC have brought 18+ mini-pitches to underfunded Black communities. With 70% of Black communities lacking recreational facilities and only 35% of Black children ages 6-12 playing sports on a regular basis, bringing mini-pitches and other resources is a goal that both organizations have seen as a great generational turn toward the growth of Black professional athletes in soccer.

Petersburg Park is located in Metro Council District 2, represented by Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin.

“It is important that everyone, regardless of race, gender, income, or background, gets the opportunity to experience a variety of recreational activities within their own community. The vast cultural diversity represented by the people in my district lends itself to a great assortment of potential sporting interests – and one that is more popular than ever is soccer,” Shanklin said. “I would like to thank the U.S. Soccer Foundation, BPC and BWPC for their work and generosity in providing my constituents with a beautiful mini-pitch to play and practice on, as well as this celebratory ‘Cookout’ event this Juneteenth.  As we continue to strive for equity and inclusion for all in our neighborhoods, it is invaluable to have partners such as these to help facilitate our goals and reach those who are often left out.”

Those interested in participating in scrimmages at the June 19th event who are under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian to complete a waiver.

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ABOUT LOUISVILLE PARKS AND RECREATION  Louisville Parks and Recreation, a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency, manages 120 parks and six parkways on more than 13,000 acres of land and operates recreation programs for area residents of all ages and abilities. Since taking office in 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer has been committed to ensuring equity in parks and recreation, including the start of the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative, the Louisville’s Engaging Children Outdoors (ECHO) programming and most recently, becoming the third city in the country to launch an equity review of all Metro-owned parks and facilities. bestparksever.com 

ABOUT BLACK PLAYERS FOR CHANGE Black Players for Change (BPC) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization consisting of over 170+ Black players, coaches and staff from MLS, working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society. BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society. Among the many goals, the organization strives to advance the attention on human rights inequalities from protest to programs, partnerships, and policies that address systemic discrimination. For more information visit www.BlackPlayersForChange.org

ABOUT BLACK WOMEN’S PLAYER COLLECTIVE The Black Women’s Player Collective (BWPC) is a nonprofit organization that elevates the image, value, and representation of Black women as athletes and leaders in business, industry, and public and private institutions. The BWPC currently consists of the 43 Black women competing in the NWSL as of 2020 and aims to provide a collective voice to the Black perspective and experience of a professional female athlete amidst the incessant and pervasive racial inequality and social injustice plaguing our country. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

ABOUT U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programs are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programs proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information visit www.ussoccerfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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