Schakowsky Statement on Juneteenth

June 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—  Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, after voting for legislation designating a new federal holiday for Juneteenth, issued the following statement in recognition of the day:

“This Saturday, we commemorate the date in 1865 when the last enslaved Black people in the United States learned from Union soldiers in Texas that they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. And we honor this oldest known celebration of the end of slavery and a date that is one of the most significant event in American history. It is not a date that commemorates a document, a war, a birthday, or a national tragedy, but a date on which the fundamental promise of America slowly began to come to fruition: equality, liberty, and freedom for all.

“One hundred and fifty-six years later, we are still pursuing that American promise. Though Juneteenth celebrates a belated liberation for Black people in the United States, Black Americans are not yet truly free. They still suffer the long-lasting effects of slavery and Jim Crow. Today, I hope we have finally reached a point of reckoning —a point where we can fully assess and address our deeply rooted history of Black oppression and move forward together, as a truly free nation.

“I urge everyone to take the time to learn, engage in racial justice activities, and deeply reflect on the hard work it will take for us to come together and reach true freedom for all. I am proud to have been able to vote to make this a federal holiday and a national day of action, and to see President Biden sign it into law. I am proud that my home state of Illinois also made it a day off for all state employees and a school holiday. While freedom has been delayed for Black Americans, it can no longer be deferred. As a Member of Congress, I will not stop fighting until this American promise is realized by all.”