NATIONAL JUNETEENTH OBSERVANCE FOUNDATION (NJOF)
NATIONAL JUNETEENTH CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (NJCLC)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JUNETEENTH JAZZ PRESENTERS (NAJJP)
NATIONAL JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
P.O. Box 269 Belzoni, Mississippi 39038
662-392-2016 662-247-4767 Fax
February 22, 2015
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
RE: (1) Invitation to participate in the annual
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday
- Request to host a
White House Juneteenth Celebration honoring the enslaved who built it,
including a performance by the
AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band in support of
"June is Juneteenth African American Jazz Legacy Month" during
Music Appreciation Month
- Invitation to speak at the
National Juneteenth Memorial Maafa Wreath Laying Ceremony
National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement
(2) Request to issue a
Presidential Juneteenth Proclamation
(3) Invitation to attend the
Juneteenth Jazz Reconciliation & Healing Concert
during the annual
African Landing Commemoration Day and the
World Day of Reconciliation & Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement
Dear President Obama:
Thank you again for your
2009 statements concerning Juneteenth in America. We are very proud of your
accomplishments as the first African American president to occupy the White House in U.S. history.
Since becoming President, we have been rebuffed in our efforts to contact you. You have yet to personally respond to any of
our invitations to participate in the annual
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance or host any Juneteenth activities at the
As you know, Juneteenth, or the
"19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union
General Gordon Granger announced freedom in the last state in rebellion to allow enslavement,
following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the
Emancipation Proclamation was issued by
President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of
General Order #3 by
General Granger, our ancestors, released from the tyranny of enslavement, celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's
second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American holiday observance.
Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in
43 states. In 2003, the District of
Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday
Since 1997, the U.S. Congress has unanimously passed legislation recognizing Juneteenth for several years. For
example, in 2011, Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) sponsored
H.R. 323 and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) sponsored of
"Observing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day" in America.
In 2014, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed
S.R. 474 recognizing the
"19th of June" as
Juneteenth Independence Day
We renew our invitation for you to participate in the annual
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance. We
encourage you to personally acknowledge the significance of America's second Independence Day by hosting a celebration of
freedom at the White House in June.
We urge you to acknowledge the accomplishments of Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement at the
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance. As was the case with the
U.S. Capitol, the
White House was built by enslaved Americans of African
descent. Our ancestors have made many
significant contributions to the building of the infrastructure of America during enslavement that have yet to be
The leadership of our
"Modern Juneteenth Movement" worked closely with former
Congressman J. C. Watts (R-OK) in
1996 & 1997
to urge the
U.S. Congress to acknowledge the contributions of our ancestors in building two of the most important structures
in the history of our democracy. Their building of the
U.S. Capitol was finally recognized in 2009 by the
U.S. Congress during a ceremony at the
U.S. Capitol. However, the leaders of our grass roots movement, who initiated the recognition of our ancestors,
were not even invited to attend the ceremony.
We ask that you and members of your administration be respectful of our accomplishments and support
Juneteenth initiatives in 2015. Since our historic movement began in 1994, we have worked to gain greater recognition
for Juneteenth and to honor the Americans of African descent who contributed so much to the building of this country.
Our efforts have been ignored and unappreciated by many national leaders.
2011 WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, I was honored to be the first African American leader to
address the Department of Interior (DOI) on the occasion of Juneteenth in U.S. history. Former
Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, was not even courteous enough to attend the function or even greet me as the
keynote speaker. Secretary Salazar did not respond to my
letter concerning the
establishment of a national park and monument at the site of the landing of the
First Africans in America.
We ask for support for the celebration of Juneteenth on military bases with members of the Armed Servives.
Secretary of Defense Carter Ash, has yet to
letters encouraging for him to acknowledge the historic significance of Juneteenth. Our Juneteenth
initiatives include honoring the African American Army engineers who built the historic
Alcan Highway, completing the building of the
Sikinni Chief River Bridge on the
"28th of October", in 1942. Their accomplishments are credited with playing a major role in bringing an
end to segregation in the U.S. military in
We request that you issue a
Presidential Proclamation to establish
Juneteenth Independence Day as a
National Day of Observance in America, similar to Flag Day or Patriot Day. Your proclamation will
support legislation in the U.S. Congress concerning gaining greater recognition of Juneteenth in America.
As a state senator and U.S. Senator from Illinois, we thank you for supporting legislation for the official
recognition of Juneteenth by the Governor and state legislature of Illinois in 2003. We also appreciated your
sponsorship of legislation to recognize Juneteenth in the
U.S. Senate in 2006. It was a great honor to personally receive special recognition from you as the only
African American member of the U.S. Senate and Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), both from my home state of
Illinois, with other members of congress, for advocating for the official recognition of Juneteenth at the
U.S. Capitol in 2008.
We also continue to urge the U.S. Senate, followed by the U.S. House of Representatives, to pass legislation
Juneteenth Independence Day a
National Day of Observance, to be completed by your signature as President of the United States.
We continue to encourage members of the U.S. Senate to support the passage of another
Senate Apology For Slavery, with
concurring legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It was wonderful to learn about the
U.S. House of Representatives Apology For Slavery and Jim Crow sponsored by
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) in 2008 and similar legislation that was passed in the
sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in 2009. We hope to have the legislation
passed during the week of Juneteenth 2014 with both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S.
Senate concurring, to be completed by your signature as President of the United States.
We prayerfully invite you to address those in attendance at our
National Juneteenth Memorial Maafa Wreath Laying Ceremony, which is part of the annual
National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from
the Legacy of Enslavement, held on the "18th of June". The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5:00pm,
Lincoln Park Emancipation Memorial, across the street from
Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Diane Dixon-Proctor, Pastor, 1301 North Carolina Avenue,
N.E., in Washington, DC.
French President, M. Jacques Chirac, during the
first day of remembrance of slavery and its abolition in France stated,
"Let us face up to our past, it is one of the keys to our national cohesion."
We believe America would also greatly benefit from our president honestly reflecting on our past history of enslavement.
National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement was the result of the second historic
Congressional Apology For Slavery legislation by former Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH) on
Juneteenth, the “19th of June”, 2000. As the leader of the
“Modern Juneteenth Movement”
in America, I was honored to work closely with Congressman Hall on the apology as an important step toward racial
healing and reconciliation in America. Since that time, several states have passed apology for slavery legislation including
Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida.
We now observe the annual
World Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement on the "20th of August", in
Hampton, VA, including a prayer service at Fort Monroe National Monument and Richmond, VA, with a tour of the
Richmond Slave Trail. The "20th of August" commemorates the date the first slave ship, the White
Lion, landed in Virginia at Old Point Comfort, today's Fort Monroe, from the shores of West Africa.
This occurred on the "latter end of August, 1619", with the
arrival of twenty Angolans, America's first
We invite you to attend our annual
Juneteenth Jazz Legacy Reconciliation and Healing Concert, at the
American Theater, in Hampton, VA. The
concert is a fundraiser for the
1st Africans Monument Fund sponsored by
Project 1619, Inc. The concert is part of the annual
World Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of
Enslavement and the
1st African Landing Day Commemoration.
America needs healing from the scars of enslavement. The annual observance of Juneteenth in America affords the
country a tremendous opportunity to constructively reflect on our legacy of enslavement and move forward as a unified nation.
As the leader of our country, your public participation in Juneteenth will be instrumental in bringing all Americans
together in a spirit of unity and reconciliation.
We also request your support for "June is Juneteenth
African American Jazz Legacy Month" during
African American Music Appreciation Month
through events and programs sponsored by the
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP) and the
African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC). "June is Black Music Month" - CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH JAZZ -
"Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy!" and the month where the
"19th of June",
Juneteenth Independence Day is celebrated throughout America.
We hope to schedule a future performance of the
AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band during the
National Holiday Observance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It would be a greater honor for
these talented college music students to receive an invitation to perform for you at the White House.
Thank you for your continued participation and support for our annual
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance and
efforts to establish
Juneteenth Independence Day as a
National Day of Observance in America.
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Founder & Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)