Today and this weekend, we celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the day that African-Americans who were enslaved in the westernmost confederate state of Texas were emancipated, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
It was two years from the proclamation to the day that the last enslaved Black people in the country were proclaimed to be free.
Juneteenth reaffirms that this is what we celebrate. Not just the posting of a Black Lives Matter sign, but every step that gets us all to a place where Black Lives matter - in our institutions, our systems, our culture, and habits.
So Juneteenth is for all of us to celebrate and honor. We honor the journey from 1863 to 1865.
We affirm that the American experience - whether Asian-, African-, Latin-, white-, Caribbean-, or Native-American - is the work in the journey to ensure freedom for all people. The work that enabled the message of the Emancipation Proclamation to make it to Texas two years later. The work over 100 years to end state-sanctioned racial segregation. The work that continues today.
Juneteenth, and making Juneteenth a national holiday, is a call in for all of us. It's an affirmation that the work in the journey to end racism is a unifying force - if we allow it to be.
Over the past year, we've seen many proclamations against racism by corporations and aspiring allies. I'm reminded this Juneteenth that the proclamation is the start. We honor Juneteenth by doing the work. By investing in Black communities. By ending racism in our communities. By taking every step needed until the last person is free.