Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement in observance of Juneteenth, the 155th anniversary of the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States:
“One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and delivered the order notifying the last slaves that they had been freed. General Granger’s order begins, ‘The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.’ This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had officially ended the institution of slavery on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth is a powerful opportunity to revisit the significance of that day in history and commemorate the ending of slavery. I was pleased to join Congresswoman Shiela Jackson Lee’s resolution to mark the 2020 Observance of Juneteenth Independence Day and do just that.
“For over 400 years, since the first slaves were brought to the Unites States and to this day, African Americans have been an integral part of the founding, building, and advancement of our nation. However, as protests continue across our nation, it is clear that the fight for justice and equality continues. Indeed, 155 years after the end of slavery, Black Americans still face systemic racism and oppression. Many Americans from diverse backgrounds are now joining the resounding call for an end to racism in policing.
“We cannot and will not stop until we achieve full equality and racial justice in this country. Today, as we pause to honor the powerful anniversary of African American freedom from slavery, please join me in reflecting on what we each can do every day to strengthen our nation by fighting for equality for all Americans.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.