ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic invite all Central Floridians and beyond to Walk With Us as the team celebrates February as Black History Month with a variety of activities tipping off on Wednesday, February 3 when the Magic will feature the first of four virtual town halls from 11 a.m. – noon featuring Magic player Michael Carter-Williams, Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford, Magic CEO Alex Martins and Magic Chief Diversity Officer Esu Ma’at. The first town hall will focus on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion within the Orlando Magic and Loyal Blue members, Magic staff, fans, community and team partners are invited to join. The Magic will host one virtual town hall per week featuring different topics (full list of town halls and topics below).
The Black History Month celebration will continue with multiple activities including Coach Clifford’s Social Justice Game Changers honored at each home game throughout February, special in-game features on local Black-owned businesses, online auction featuring Magic players’ MLK warm up shirts from earlier this season, support of community events including the City of Orlando’s Black History Month Workshop and support of Valencia College’s Black History Month activities.
The month will culminate with an in-game celebration when the Magic host the Utah Jazz on Sat., Feb. 27, tip-off at 7 p.m. During the game, the Magic will recognize and honor the many accomplishments and contributions of African Americans in the Central Florida community. The Magic will host local African American community leaders at the game with the night featuring various organizations including the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Black Business Inititiave Fund, Black-owned business honorees, Valencia College Poetry Slam winners. The night will also feature the Social Justice Game Changer, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
In addition, throughout the month at every home game, the team will be wearing special shooting shirts designed by the NBA that will feature on the front, “Built by Black History” (pictured above). Inside the script on the shirt features significant milestones in the NBA related to Black History.
As part of the Black History Month celebration in February and beyond, the Magic joins the NBA and its teams to support the ongoing pursuit of racial justice by taking leaguewide action that centers voices, experiences and perspectives of Black players, coaches, employees and fans. As all teams leaguewide honor the legacy and contributions of Black leaders from history, each joins together to take collective actions now to demonstrate a shared commitment to building a more just, equal and inclusive future.
The Magic celebrate diversity and embrace its many characteristics and the value it brings to both business and community—understanding what can be accomplished when everyone works together to achieve legendary moments. The Magic are committed to creating an environment in which employees, community partners and fans feel welcome, valued and appreciated.
Fans can join the Black History Month in-game celebration on Feb. 27 by visiting https://www.nba.com/magic/schedule/home. For more information on the Magic’s Black History Month celebration and its efforts in the realm of social justice, diversity and equity please visit www.OrlandoMagic.com/walk-with-us.
Walk With Us Town Hall Series in Celebration of Black History Month
The State of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with the Orlando Magic
Feb. 3, 11 a.m. – noon
Discussion to feature Magic leadership sharing insights behind the team’s efforts to combat social inequality and what’s next. Featuring Magic player Michael Carter-Williams, Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford, Magic CEO Alex Martins and Magic Chief Diversity Officer Esu Ma’at; moderated by Monica May.
Diversity of Business to Basketball
Feb. 10, 11 a.m. – noon
Discussion to feature Magic global partners and how they are addressing social change within their organizations. Featured speakers include Derek Lewis with PepsiCo, Candace Mathews with Amway and Jessica Brazier with AdventHealth. Moderated by Magic Chief Diversity Officer Esu Ma’at.
Positive Business Impact of Supplier Diversity
Feb. 17, 11 a.m. – noon
Discussion to feature the work of the Magic with supplier diversity and the importance of supporting local minority and women owned businesses, workforce development, Magic training center (AdventHealth Training Facility), small business impact and what the team hopes to accomplish moving forward. Featured speakers include Tanisha Gray with the African American Chamber of Commerce, Magic Chief Diversity Officer Esu Ma’at, Brandon Lee with Lee Wesley, Tony Jenkins with Florida Blue and Leonard Spencer with The Walt Disney Company.
Social Justice Game Changers
Feb. 24, 11 a.m. – noon
Discussion to feature a dialogue with social justice leaders on the current state of affairs in the Central Florida community. Topics addressed to include policy reform, criminal justice reform, where to go from here and how corporations can make a positive impact in social justice. Featured speakers include Desmond Meade with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Dr. Randy Nelson with Bethune Cookman University Center for Law & Social Justice, Miles Mulrain with Let Your Voice Be Heard, Rachel Allen with Valencia Peace & Justice Institute with additional speakers to be determined. Moderated by Magic Chief Diversity Officer Esu Ma’at.
About Black History Month
In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Their goal was to research and bring awareness to the largely ignored, yet crucial role black people played in American and world history.
The son of former slaves and the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard University, Carter Woodson understood the value of education. He also felt the importance of preserving one’s heritage and, upon his urgings, the fraternity Omega Psi Phi created Negro History and Literature Week in 1920. In 1926, Woodson changed the name to Negro History Week. He selected the month of February for the celebration as a way to honor of the birth of two men whose actions drastically altered the future of black Americans. Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. President who issued the Emancipation Proclamation was born on February 12 and Frederick Douglass, one of the nation’s leading abolitionists was born on February 14.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson died in 1950, but his legacy continued on as the celebration of Negro History Week was adopted by cities and organizations across the country. This observance proved especially important during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the inhumane and unequal treatment of black people in America was being challenged and overturned.
The Black Power Movement of the 1970s emphasized racial pride and the significance of collective cultural values. This prompted the ASALH, now called the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, to change Negro History Week to Black History Week. In 1976, they extended the week to a month-long observance.
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