Chris Paul celebrated Juneteenth in a very special way this year. The NBA All-Star bought out all three locations of Atlanta’s popular plant-based burger chain, Slutty Vegan, to help feed the local community.
On Saturday, June 19, patrons of Slutty Vegan enjoyed the chain’s iconic One Night Stand burger and a side of fries, free of charge. The plant-based burger features vegan bacon, dairy-free cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and Slutty Vegan’s Slut Sauce all on a Hawaiian bun.
“In the spirit of Juneteenth, I’m honored to support a Black-owned business while dedicating resources to feed the community,” Paul said.
Paul, who plays point guard for the Phoenix Suns, teamed up with the vegan burger joint to offer the free meals at the chain’s Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, Jonesboro, and Edgewood Avenue locations. He went plant-based back in 2019 after watching the 2018 documentary The Game Changers. The film explores vegan athletes and the myth that meat is needed in order to compete.
“On Juneteenth, we honor our independence and our freedom,” Pinky Cole, founder and CEO of Slutty Vegan, said. “Atlanta has supported me since day and it’s my duty to support Atlanta and the communities that support me no matter what.”
“As a Black-owned business, Slutty Vegan continues to grow thanks to support from our neighbors, and we have the opportunity to change people’s lives by unifying and diversifying our communities, giving back, and providing options and knowledge on a healthier lifestyle,” she added.
On Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
The day commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans. On June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War had ended. They informed the last enslaved Black Americans that they were finally free under the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Despite this, about 250,000 Black Americans remained enslaved in Texas. Juneteenth celebrations began in 1866 and have continued each year since.
In addition to giving out free meals in celebration of the holiday, Slutty Vegan was able to pay its employees time and a half for the now federal holiday.
This wasn’t the first time that Paul and Slutty Vegan teamed up. The NBA player, actors Gabrielle Union-Wade and La La Anthony, and rapper Ludacris bought out the plant-based burger chain back in June 2020 to support Slutty Vegan’s philanthropic efforts.
Cole first founded the food delivery business Slutty Vegan ATL back in 2018. After evolving into a food truck, she was able to open her first brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2019. That same year, she founded the Pinky Cole Foundation to support entrepreneurship and financial education initiatives among teens and young adults. “The goal of my foundation is to provide opportunities and financial literacy resources to people to help bridge the generational wealth gap,” Cole said.
In August 2020, the foundation partnered with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice to offer scholarships to 30 juvenile offenders.
“Being able to partner with the DJJ to help kids in our community is what we are about at Slutty Vegan and the Pinky Cole Foundation,” Cole said.