Juneteenth message from the Chair, MA State Democratic Committee
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and announced that nearly two months earlier, Confederate forces had surrendered in Appomattox, Virginia, ending the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued in January of 1863, but it took two and a half years for Union forces to influence and overcome the resistance, and for the enslavement of Black Americans to finally end.
Known as Juneteenth, this anniversary is too often overlooked and omitted from our history books. It’s a time to celebrate the end of one of the biggest atrocities committed by our country and reflect on the struggle for equal rights and the achievements of Black Americans in spite of the systemic racism that remains today.
This year, Juneteenth falls in the middle of a national reckoning on race. Calls to formally acknowledge Juneteenth as the celebration of independence that it should be are renewed–and we agree with them. For that reason, the MassDems office will be closed today. But for folks that look like me, this can’t be a day off.
It should be a day to recognize our past, rededicate ourselves to the fight for justice, and honor both the Black folks who ended this national shame and those who continue to push for equity and opportunity. Tomorrow, as one way I’m honoring the holiday, I’ll be joining Boston’s 10th Annual Juneteenth Emancipation Observance 2020 featuring Ayanna Pressley and I’ve put together a list of more events happening this weekend along with educational resources for allies. I hope you’ll join in the festivities, participate in a rally, educate yourself, or show your support in whatever way you can.