News Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday announced a new social justice initiative funded with his remaining salary for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
The 30-year-old NBA star — along with his wife, Lauren Holiday — announced the formation of the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund in a post to Instagram on Wednesday.
"I have pledged the remainder of my 2020 NBA salary as a progressive step toward combating systemic racism as well as social and economic inequality that continues to prevent Black communities from upward mobility," Holiday explained in his post.
The fund will assist Black-led non-profits in New Orleans, the Los Angeles area, and Indianapolis. Ten other cities that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and have received less than two percent of allocated loans from the Paycheck Protection Program will also be supported.
"Honestly when it came down to it, it was me and my wife talking about what we could do to kind of further this movement and progression and being able to help out our community and just being able to help," Holiday told ESPN after the announcement.
The Pelicans are part of the 22 teams participating in the NBA's season restart set to begin July 31, and Holiday is set to receive $5.3 million from his remaining game checks, according to the outlet.
"We were just kind of sitting in the house, in the bed, thinking about it, and my wife said, 'I think you should do this and you should do the rest of your salary,'" Holiday said of searching for a way to help after the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed while in police custody.
"[I thought] that's a great idea," he continued. "Because we want to make an impact. God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both."
The couple met when they were students at UCLA and married in July 2013. Lauren— a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. women’s soccer team — was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2016 that caused her to have painful headaches while she was pregnant with the couple's daughter. The tumor was removed after Lauren underwent surgery at Duke University Hospital.
"It's not just about the money for me and my family," Holiday told ESPN. "That's the important part. It's not just about me. It's not just about the money. I want people to see that. For us coming to Orlando and playing these games, giving away this money is what is important and trying to help others."
"Trying to support others during this hard time. Fortunately enough, we still have a job. We get paid very well to have this job," he said. "Me and wife felt like this was very important."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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