Salama tompoko and good morning,
Juneteenth is a day to reflect on and commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas to announce that the American Civil War had ended and that the enslaved people there were now free. This last known enslaved population in the United States only received notice of their freedom three years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Since then, Juneteenth has grown in populari
ty with many families and communities gathering to celebrate and reflect on the significance of Juneteenth and the ongoing struggle for true freedom and equality. The reality is that for many, Juneteenth serves as a reminder of how racial equity and justice has been delayed or denied for Black Americans and other people of color for far too long.
While the Civil War officially ended slavery in the US, it did not end discrimination against black people. Many states created Jim Crow laws and unwritten rules that restricted the rights and freedoms of Black Americans.
The struggle for social justice and the fight to gain equal access under the law spurred movements of resistance across the U.S., including lunch counter sit-ins to counter segregation, bus boycotts, protests like the Selma to Montgomery marches, and most recently, the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2021, Juneteenth became the United States’ newest national holiday. It is a day in which we remember the moral stain and terrible toll of slavery on our country. It is also a day to honor the extraordinary contributions of Black Americans to our nation in the face of ongoing adversity and systemic racism. Today, we hang the Black Lives Matter flag to reaffirm our commitment to advancing racial equity and eliminating systematic barriers to true equality and access to justice in the United States and worldwide
The Black Lives Matter flag is a visible reminder of our collective responsibility to advance social justice issues and reaffirms the U.S. government’s resolute commitment to advance racial equity, address discrimination in all forms, and eliminate systematic barriers to full equity and inclusion for Black Americans and underserved communities.