Celebrating Juneteenth

Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer: "Each year on June 19th we celebrate “Juneteenth,” a day to commemorate the triumph of freedom over slavery and rededicate ourselves to finally ensuring liberty and justice for all.

"On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and a group of Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas.  President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier, but most slaves in the South had yet to experience the freedom it promised.  So General Granger gathered the people of Galveston for a reading of General Order Number 3 and shared its proclamation that all of America’s remaining slaves were now free.

"In the years that followed, former slaves in Galveston and across Texas gathered on June 19 to commemorate that milestone, but it would take decades more of struggle before African-Americans were accorded equal protection under the law.

"Today Juneteenth is observed nationwide as one step in the path toward true equality for all Americans.  While this day holds a special meaning for descendants of slaves, Juneteenth is an opportunity for us all to not only reflect upon the tragedy of slavery and the glory of Emancipation, but also to celebrate the rights and freedoms we all share.  

"Slavery is a reprehensible chapter in our nation’s history and should serve to remind us that our responsibility is always – as stated in the preamble to the Constitution – to form a more perfect union.  Because despite how far America has come, much work remains to be done to realize our nation’s magnificent ideals.  

"As we celebrate Juneteenth 2013, let us all recommit ourselves as Americans to the enduring pursuit of a more perfect union that guarantees liberty and justice for all." ~ Senator Barbara Boxer

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