President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves to be freed, in January, 1863.  It took the ending of the Civil War, in April 1865 for this to become truly the law of the land.  Even at that, the distances and communication challenges meant that there remained territories which did not know, or honor, the Emancipation Proclamation.

It took 2,000 Federal troops arriving in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865 to effectuate the freeing of 250,000 African Americans.

The legislation making Juneteenth a National Holiday happened only a few years ago, in part a consequence of the trauma and reckoning which occurred after George Floyd’s murder.  President Biden remarked at the time:  By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history, and celebrate progress, and grapple with the distance we’ve come and the distance we have yet to travel.

America’s history of slavery remains our ‘original sin’ and stands in stark contrast to our founding value that “all men are created equal”.  While there has been remarkable progress towards equality, there is no doubt that we have much further to go.

I am proud that JusticeWorks is a force for promoting equal treatment and opportunity, for those we serve and those who work here.

Thank you for your commitment and work to uphold those values.  Enjoy your mid-week holiday and be safe