For Immediate Release: June 18, 2023 President Debbie Deland, Florida NOW
A LONG TIME COMING: Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, is the commemoration for the ending of slavery in the United States. The date commemorates 158 years since the Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas. On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger read, “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” More than 3 million people were freed and the Civil War had then truly ended.
THE CONTINUOUS STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY AND FREEDOM: Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for Black people in America. The struggle, with advances and horrific setbacks, continues to this day. There was a resurgence during the Civil Rights Movement and on January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas and is now a national holiday.
THE MISSION: The Juneteenth celebration began to reassure each other, for prayers and for gathering remaining family members of formerly enslaved people. Recounting the memories of that great day and its festivities would serve as motivation and as a release from the growing pressures encountered in opposition to their newly gained legal rights.
In recent years, Juneteenth has taken on added meaning and significance since George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020. Juneteenth should highlight to all of us that Black Lives Matter.
FLORIDA NOW REACTS:
Debbie Deland, FLNOW President said, “The institution of slavery is a shameful and reprehensible part of our history. We haven’t truly faced the horror of it. As a country we’ve made gains towards living up to our professed claim of freedom and justice for all. But clearly, we have a long way to go in fighting the severe backlashes to any gains for people of color. We are far away from the ideals we aspire to. As un-American and incomprehensible as it seems, here in Florida the 2023 forms of a DeSantis Jim Crow and School Segregation will become law on July 1, 2023. Governor DeSantis has signed racist and white supremacist bills that blatantly impact our public K-12 and higher education systems with his racist, sexist, anti-woke, anti-diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging programs, and suppressive changes to the voting process. The NAACP is warning Black people that it is too risky to visit Florida! How is that ever acceptable in 2023? Each of DeSantis’s attacks on liberty and freedom must be confronted. While they are being challenged in court, we must stay strong, informed, and educate others–Resist. Florida NOW will not waver or desist in bringing our state around to reflect in action the promises in our constitution.”
CALL TO ACTION:
Interact and build meaningful friendships with people whose cultures differ from yours. Stay informed and express your support for true freedom for all.