June 19th (Juneteenth) is the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas, freeing the last remaining enslaved people in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Due to the ongoing Civil War, many remained enslaved for several more years. In 1865 on June 18th the Union army arrived in Galveston Texas. The next day, General Gordon Granger announced that slavery was abolished.
Unfortunately, we still struggle to live up to the ideal “Land of the Free”. This year, we honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as we commemorated the 50th year since his assassination. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights leaders combatted the social and economic injustices that existed for individuals of color throughout the 20th century and now into the 21st. The day prior to his assassination, King went to Memphis, Tennessee to speak to the workers in the Sanitation Strike of 1968. An ally of workers’ rights, Dr. King believed that there could not be racial justice until there was economic justice.
“The friction between our actions as a nation and the beliefs upon which we built our country prompted change”. Too many of our brothers and sisters still face discrimination in the workplace and in our communities, whether they are of a different race, ethnicity, religion, gender or orientation. We are not “The Land of the Free” until we recognize justice for all.
Along our country’s southern border, migrant families are being torn apart as they attempt to enter this country, searching for a better life. They are searching for the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as all of us. While we have come so far from President Lincoln and Dr. King, we must continue to dedicate ourselves to standing in solidarity with all who are striving for the American dream. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.