12.08.15

Congresswoman Lee Marks 150th Anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment along with East Bay Students

Oakland, CA – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee marked the sesquicentennial of the Thirteenth Amendment along with President Obama, her Congressional Black Caucus colleagues, Oakland's Rabbi Bloom and students from the East Bay’s Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center. She released this statement marking the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment:

“Today, our nation pauses to remember one of the most significant dates in American history: the end of slavery with the passage of an amendment to the Constitution. The ratification of this amendment guaranteed freedom for almost four million Americans.

America’s legacy of slavery and racial oppression is a dark and sadly ongoing chapter in our nation’s history. Remembering our history is a critical part of continuing the process of overcoming injustice and discrimination.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the Thirteenth Amendment initiated our nation’s civil rights movement that continues to this day.

As many in our nation come to understand the gross inequalities and systemic racial barriers that are still endemic in our country, this anniversary should challenge policymakers to renew their commitment to ensuring equality and justice for all.

As our nation officially celebrates this important milestone, I am glad to be welcoming the students from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center and Rabbi Mark Bloom, of Oakland’s Temple Beth Abraham, to Washington D.C. to attend the commemoration.

It’s vital that our nation’s young people have an opportunity to not only learn about our nation’s history but to participate in creating it. I know that these young people will return to the East Bay with a renewed commitment to completing the unfinished work of ensuring equality and justice for all.”

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.