June 19, 2016

Congresswoman Lee Marks 151st Observance of Juneteenth and Calls on Nation to Recommit to Fight for True Equality

Oakland, CA – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement celebrating the 151st anniversary of Juneteenth:

“Today, we celebrate Juneteenth – the day in 1865 when enslaved Americans learned that they were finally free. More than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, news of the Proclamation and the Union’s victory in the Civil War finally reached Galveston, Texas. On this day, 151 years ago, all African Americans could finally claim their freedom.

Each year, Juneteenth asks us to reflect on a dark chapter in American history, born in the Middle Passage and preserved through the institution of slavery. We also reflect on the enduring legacy of the nameless thousands who fought to end slavery.

However, the struggle for true and lasting freedom, equality, and justice continues.

From voting rights to equal access to education and housing, it is clear that much work remains to ensure that every family has the opportunity to live the American dream. 

As we celebrate today, we must recommit ourselves to understanding and overcoming the enduring legacy of slavery in all its forms and completing the unfinished work of guaranteeing freedom, justice and equality 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 Democrat Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity.