MADISON – Today, Representative Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) and the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus held a ceremony to honor the inaugural raising of the Juneteenth Flag.

Rep. Stubbs stated, “Today marks a historic day in the state of Wisconsin with the raising of the Juneteenth flag. We recognize the date that enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their emancipation, almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was first issued.

More than that, Juneteenth recognizes the sacrifices African Americans have made on the battlefields of the American Civil War, on the streets during the Civil Rights Movement, and even now in this nation-wide fight against police brutality.

This is a historic moment for the African American Community. It a true honor to witness the raising of the Juneteenth Flag at the state capital, and to commemorate the liberation of slaves in this country. We were honored to take the lead in requesting that the flag be flown across the state of Wisconsin. A special thank you to Governor Tony Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes for accepting our request and honoring it.

Today we not only celebrate African American History; we celebrate American History.  We recognize the importance of Juneteenth, and we commit to making systemic change so that African Americans in this state can realize the freedom and equality first promised by the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 2020, in these United States of America, African Americans still feel the legacy of slavery in their everyday lives. The promise of liberation has yet to be fulfilled.  Lack of equal access to educational and economic opportunity, disproportionately negative health outcomes, and life-threatening interactions with the criminal justice system continues to deny access to what we were promised by the Emancipation Proclamation- freedom and equality.

In this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which is disproportionately impacting the Black community, this state holiday offers an opportunity to begin to heal our local community; to build bridges and embrace each other as neighbors. It is a chance to reflect and recommit ourselves to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – for everybody.

This is why we raise this flag. This is why we celebrate, and this is why we weep. Juneteenth is about how we change the United States to better reflect our founding values. It is about our collective struggle to radically improve the conditions for and the definition of humanity in this country. It is about celebrating the coming day when we all will be free.”

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