The former player teamed up with the NFL to promote the importance of the June 19 via a series of tweets. When it was initially released, Ellis saw his play as a means to lobby the US government to make June 19th a federal holiday. When discussing his play in 2020, he had the following to say:
I know a lot of people are looking for answers. Other ethnic groups are looking for answers, and this will supply a lot of those answers they’re looking for when it comes to discrimination and racism.
The increased attention that’s been shed on it will help, but if it doesn’t, then it’s a missed opportunity. I pray people get it and understand this is an opportunity. If you really say you want to do something, we have a petition. If you say you’re looking for answers to why we’re still dealing with these issues, you can get those questions answered by watching the play
On the 17th of June 2021, Ellis had his wish realized as Juneteenth became an official federal holiday. The former Dallas Cowboy has now taken to educating others about the importance of celebrating the new holiday.
What is Juneteenth and why is it so important to Ellis and others?
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on 19 June each year to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in America. Juneteenth is a combination of June and nineteen. It marks the day in 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to free enslaved people more than two years after the official signing of the emancipation proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. The date is thus recognized as the official end of slavery in the US.
Despite the 13th Amendment being adopted, Texas continued to practice slavery and it was only the arrival of these troops that finally freed the 250,000 slaves in the state.
Each year following 1865, the former Texan slaves would arrange a celebration on 19 June, which was called Jubilee Day. Additionally, in 1979, Texas became the first state in America to make Juneteenth an official state holiday.