On June 19th, 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers arrived in Texas with news that all enslaved people are free. One year later, the first Juneteenth was celebrated. It is the oldest known celebration of emancipation in the United States.
Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration. It’s also a reminder that 155 years after emancipation, and 55 years after passing the Civil Rights Act, the fight to achieve racial justice still continues. Over the last few weeks, people have poured into the streets to protest violence against Black Americans as a powerful reminder that even though progress has been made, there is still so much more work to be done.
Throughout our history, Black Americans have worked to build a better tomorrow. The moment we are living in is a stark reminder that we all need to contribute to that work. We all must recommit ourselves to fulfilling America’s promise of equality and justice for all.
Happy Juneteenth –