“June 19th, 2016, marks the anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day”. On this day, 151 years ago, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas to report the liberating news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were finally free. They were the last enslaved people to learn about their freedom two years after President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
“This day is celebrated by African American communities around the country because it reminds us all that true liberation does not ensue from an act of Congress and or an order of President. The final frontier to be vanquished lingers in the hearts and minds of the people in this great nation and the world community that surrounds us.
“While we have made tremendous strides since 1865, we must never forget the enduring contributions of the slaves and their descendants to this country. They have fought in every war, and given their lives for the liberation of all Americans. Because they had a grand vision that we could be a better nation and a better people, even in the midst of their own suffering, their idealism and activism helped this nation create a more perfect union.
“We have come a great distance, but there is still much more work to do in America to finally build a true democracy that respects the worth and dignity of each and every human being. The stories of this enslaved people should empower us all to seek our own liberation from injustice and do what we can to build a Beloved Community in our nation and around the world.”