June 19, 2017

Congresswoman Lee Marks 152nd Observance of Juneteenth

Oakland, CACongresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement in observance of Juneteenth: 

“Today we pause to celebrate and commemorate Juneteenth – the day in 1865 when news of slavery’s end finally made its way to Galveston, Texas. More than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, news of the Proclamation and the Union’s victory in the Civil War had not reached Galveston, Texas. On this day, 152 years ago, all African Americans could finally claim their freedom.

“Each year Juneteenth compels us to confront the darkest chapter in American history, a chapter  that was born in the Middle Passage, nurtured through slavery and institutionally preserved for hundreds of years. On Juneteenth we remember the millions of children, women, and men who were abused, massacred, and sold as property in this country. In doing so, we also honor the courageous  champions who fought to end slavery and the thousands of unsung heroes whose names we will never know. But as we remember the strength of our ancestors and celebrate the end of slavery, we also acknowledge the inescapable legacy of racism and discrimination slavery that still lingers in our society.

“This year especially, Juneteenth should serve as a reminder that the struggle for equality is far from over. African-Americans continue to face disparities in education, healthcare and economic security and innocent men and women continue to lose their lives to the forces of fear and ignorance deeply rooted in our broken criminal justice system.

“Today, as we celebrate Juneteenth may we recognize the systemic and institutional racial biases that continues to plague our society. We must recommit ourselves to addressing them with ceaseless fortitude.”