Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States since June 19, 1865. The moment when millions of black people finally gained the liberation for which they had been fighting since for centuries deserves space in the calendar. Juneteenth is an opportunity to celebrate freedom, history, heritage and culture. We celebrate with the awareness that full freedom has not been achieved for all Americans.
Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, listened to testimony on the subject of slavery reparations for the first time since 2007. Witnesses included Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations.”
Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee spearheaded the congressional hearing on these “long overdue” reparations. The purpose of the hearing was “to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice.”
Celebrating Juneteenth reminds us how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.