Today we celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday marking the day word of freedom finally reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, a full two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth is a reminder of America’s original sin of slavery — a day to reflect on our nation’s shared, painful history, as well as the work we still have to do in order to make equality and justice a reality for all.
It is a reminder that the struggle for racial justice in this country has too-often been delayed and unfulfilled, and that the true story of this nation has been hidden and diminished as we fail to reckon with our past head-on.
We must understand that Black people in the United States of America have never been fully freed, and that white supremacy and systemic racial injustice continue to plague our society from top to bottom — in our courts, our schools, our hospitals, our workplaces, the air we breathe, the water we drink, our blocks, neighborhoods, towns, and cities.
I’m proud that last year, my legislation recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday passed — but the truth is that marking a day on the calendar and calling it a job well done is simply not enough.
We must continue — today and every day — to recommit ourselves and our agenda to the fight for justice in all its forms, and to the movement for Black liberation.
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The Markey Committee
PO Box 120029
Boston, MA 02112
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