Sunday, June 23, 2024

Congressman Al Green Gives Powerful Speech as He Honors First Anniversary of Nat’l Juneteenth Celebration | WATCH

*Even before the day arrived, Congressman Al Green had been leading an effort to make 2022 the first year to mark the anniversary of the first arrival of slave ships in North America 400 years ago. It is the same Al Green, a Texas Democrat, who introduced a resolution last November to set June 19 as a national holiday.

As the country marks the first Juneteenth, the congressman has given a passionate speech, detailing why June 19 is an important day, and why the Black Lives Matter movement has made Juneteenth even more special this year.

“On June 19, 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the liberation of enslaved African Americans in Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in the United States over two years prior to Granger’s announcement, many Americans still remained in bondage and deprived of their inalienable rights,” Congressman Al Green said in his shared statement. “More than 150 years later, this day is now recognized across the U.S. as Juneteenth and is annually celebrated on June 19.”

Juneteenth is already a national holiday in Texas, and Green now wants that a national Department of Reconciliation to be created. He said that despite the atrocities in American history, the nation has never reconciled, and it will take a federal agency working hand in hand with the president to bring about the reconciliation forum.

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Green has also pointed to Germany as an example of what reconciliation can do; he also believes the Confederate statues should be brought down.

“Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom, honors African American history and progress, and acknowledges the work that remains to be done in the Black community,” he continued in his statement. “However, Juneteenth is not just a holiday for Black people; it is a holiday for all people of goodwill regardless of their hue. Because Black history is American history, together as Americans we must never forget the era of chattel slavery so we can strive for a society with true equality for all. Unfortunately, the vestiges of slavery and invidious discrimination still linger in our nation today, including in housing, education, healthcare, as well as lending. We owe it to our past, present, and future to do well by our promise of justice and liberty for all.”

He added that Juneteenth would not be the official holiday it is today without the invaluable efforts of several people. He commended Texas State Representative Al Edwards, whom he said is affectionately known as the Father of Juneteenth, for introducing and successfully passing legislation as a freshman lawmaker that made Texas the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday in 1980.

He continued: “I commend my colleague Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for introducing the federal bill to establish the national holiday of Juneteenth, which I proudly cosponsored and President Biden signed into law. I also commend local Houston activist Ms. Sandra Hines, who is affectionately known as the Honorary Mayor of Sunnyside, for her tireless advocacy to make Juneteenth a holiday. I invite every person to join me in celebrating the emancipation of African Americans on Juneteenth.”

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