June 19, 2018

Congresswoman Lee Marks 153rd Observance of Juneteenth

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement in observance of Juneteenth:

“Today we pause to celebrate Juneteenth. On this day in 1865, news of emancipation reached enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas. As a native Texan whose grandfather was born in Galveston, this day has always been a day of reflection and inspiration to me.

“Juneteenth – or Freedom Day – is both a day to celebrate emancipation and contemplate the darkest chapter in American history. African Americans have endured the middle passage, slavery, segregation, and institutional racism. Generation after generation, we have suffered abuse, violence, and discrimination. On Freedom Day, we remember the countless men, women, and children who fought racism and we honor their courage.

“On Juneteenth, we also must recognize that the fight against systemic racism is far from over. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow live on. African Americans continue to face education, health and economic disparities. And innocent lives are still being lost – day after day – to police violence and an unjust criminal justice system.

“But we cannot give up hope. We recognize the systemic and institutional racial biases that disenfranchise and disempower African Americans. But we also remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ Let us recommit to the fight for justice and equality today.”