Obama Commemorates Juneteenth Independence Day
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Barack Obama

Contact: Ben LaBolt

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) issued the following statement on Juneteenth Independence Day, the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War had ended, effectively emancipating slaves in the Southwest. Obama is a co-sponsor of a resolution commemorating Juneteenth that is expected to be considered by the Senate today.

The text of the statement is below:

“One hundred and forty-two years ago today, freedom reached the farthest corner of the Southwest. The words in President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had finally become a reality for the hundreds of thousands who knew America as only a place of servitude, oppression, and slavery. Juneteenth was the day our Nation finally reclaimed its dignity.”

“Today we must celebrate this triumph over injustice, but we must also reflect on how far we still have to go to ensure that equality truly blankets every city and town. It’s been fifty years since Linda Brown took that long walk to her school in Topeka, Kansas and yet our schools are still unequal. It’s been forty years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and yet Americans still gather to find ways to keep their fellow citizens from exercising their right to vote. And it’s been apart of our daily lives for too long where millions go without health care, without work, and without hope—that despair keeps us divided and still reaches the four corners of our country to this day.”

“Juneteenth reminds us of generations past who showed us that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. This is the day that beckons us to build a more just society. And this day reminds of where we must go to fully realize the ideals of this country. Only in this century, those triumphs won’t take years to reach every American; we’ll know about them in an instant and celebrate at that blessed moment.”


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