Press Release ● Human and Civil Rightsfacebooktwitterbirdemail
For Immediate Release: 
June 19, 2013
Contact Info: 

Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement recognizing today as Juneteenth, the oldest, nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States:

“148 years ago, on June 19th, slaves in Galveston, Texas, received word from Union Soldiers that they were free - more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. We continue to mark this day so that we never forget that our nation's history has been shaped by democracy’s triumph over the injustice of slavery and the unending march of progress toward a more perfect union.

“Juneteenth is an opportunity to teach America’s children – of every color and creed – about our national history, slavery’s tragic story, and the many contributions African Americans made toward building our nation.  It is also a moment to reflect on the courage and determination of those who risked their lives and livelihoods to work for abolition and emancipation, including many in Maryland. When one person suffers injustice in our society, our nation as a whole suffers.  When any among us is made less free, none of us are truly free.   

“I join in celebrating Juneteenth and expressing my hope that, together as one nation, we will continue to strive toward justice, liberty, and equal opportunity for all our people.”