Juneteenth’s Elevation to a Federal Holiday
Juneteenth represents the celebration of the news of the emancipation of slaves finally reaching Galveston Island on June 19, 1865, three years after being signed into law by President Lincoln and enacted six months later. These tidings were deliberately withheld from the enslaved people until the truth could no longer be hidden.
Despite emancipation, its promise of full equal rights and equity has yet to be realized one-hundred and fifty-six years later. Of the almost 400,000 people stolen from their families, their cultures, their homes, and deposited in what is now the United States of America between 1525 and 1866, neither they nor their descendants have enjoyed the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” they were guaranteed from January 1, 1863, forward.
Instead, they have frequently been deprived of those rights by ongoing bigotry and persecution, often perpetuated by governmental entities using their official offices to deprive them of their rights.
The Hope for Children Foundation enthusiastically supports the celebration as a landmark holiday. The enactment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday does not correct all the wrongs of our overtly racist past, but it gives hope, and may represent a turning point ultimately leading toward future social justice and equality for all people.
At the Hope for Children foundation, we advocate for children and their right to live and grow in safety. The culture of paternalism and privilege has facilitated injustice toward People of Color, has also made children vulnerable to exploitation and maltreatment. Social justice demands that we oppose these historically unjust practices.
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Hope for Children Foundation