Celebrating Juneteenth is Now More Important Than Ever

It's Time for America to Truly Grapple with its Legacy of Slavery

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Juneteeth is a reminder of how freedom and justice in the United States has always been delayed for black folks. For more information visit https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

Pride Month

Given that the month of June is LGBT Pride Month I believe this is a great time to point out some of the important issues facing LGBTQ African Americans.

Although the Civil Rights Movement resulted in monumental legal changes for African Americans overall, we continue to experience bias, discrimination and prejudice at all levels of society. The situation is even more severe for LGBTQ African Americans, who live at the intersection of racism, homophobia and transphobia and face a number of critical issues, including: economic insecurity, violence & harassment, HIV & Health Inequality, religious intolerance, and criminal justice.