Chester County recently declared Juneteenth, to be celebrated June 19, as an official county holiday celebrating the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The move comes as counties and states issue similar proclamations nationwide.
“We recognize the importance of taking this day to reflect on the historical and current struggles of our black neighbors and friends,” Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said in a statement. “It is important to remember that freedom was not won by all with the Emancipation Proclamation, but on June 19, 1865 when the last of the slaves learned of the end of the Civil War. Recognizing this critical day in our history is a small step in moving forward together.”
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez and DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie M. Rollins released the following statement commemorating the anniversary of Juneteenth:
“Juneteenth is supposed to be a day of celebration and commemoration. A day when slaves in Galveston, Texas, received the joyous news that they were free at last. But today, America is hurting. Our Black communities are hurting. 155 years after the end of slavery, Black Americans still live under a yoke of oppression. This time it wears a badge and calls itself the law. It kneels on their necks and binds their wrists; it takes their lives or tries to put them behind bars for crimes as heinous as shopping at a Walmart, going for a jog, talking on a phone, walking home from 7-Eleven, playing in a gazebo, even sitting in one’s own apartment.
“On this Juneteenth, we recognize that the wounds of slavery and segregation have far from healed. We know that the day of celebration all those years ago was not an end to the hardship of Black America, but the beginning of a centuries-long struggle to make this country live up to its founding promise of justice and equality for all.
“These last few weeks have shown us not only the resilience of Black Americans, but the cowardice of this president. Instead of bringing our country together in the cause of justice, he has done nothing but sow division; he has advocated and ordered violence against protestors, rather than condemning the racist violence that launched these protests in the first place. His Justice Department has denied the existence of systemic racism in law enforcement and rolled back critical efforts to prosecute police misconduct. His failed response to the pandemic has plunged our economy into a recession, devastating Black small business owners and sending Black unemployment skyrocketing. And to pour more salt on our nation’s wounds, he tried to hold a rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where white mobs infamously burned down Black Wall Street nearly a century ago.
“Today’s Juneteenth is a reminder of just how much work we have ahead of us. As Democrats, we must continue to march, and fight, and vote for the more perfect union Black communities deserve – from classrooms and courtrooms, to housing and health care, to the workplace and the ballot box.”
Learn more about Juneteenth at Juneteenth