Juneteenth 2021

This week, President Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and enshrined June 19 as a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. While the mammoth impact of slavery on our nation’s history cannot be fully measured in a day, nor the toll that it continues to take be remedied by the signing of one bill, the acknowledgment of this stain on our history by our federal government, and the extraordinary activism, sacrifice, and perseverance of advocates to make Juneteenth possible is a demonstration of our collective potential to become ‘a more perfect’ Union.

Juneteenth is the first new national holiday established since Martin Luther King Day in 1983. To King, “Slavery was perpetuated in America not merely by human badness but also by human blindness.” As we share our first national Juneteenth, it is essential that we reflect on how deeply racism is embedded in American policies and how it still affects education, health care, jobs, housing…

We must continually fight to dismantle these inequitable structures and to implement policies that serve us all. It is the effort we make to call out and confront what is unjust and inequitable that defines us, and it is the commitment we make to struggle and overcome that heals us and brings us hope.