WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement commemorating June 19, 2019 as Juneteenth. This year’s Juneteenth marks the 154th anniversary of the date on which Army General Gordon Granger, in Galveston, Texas, freed the last remaining slaves– two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom but also a celebration of the spirit. On this important day, we take the time to recognize and honor the hardship and the dignity of the men, women, and children who were enslaved in the U.S., including 100,000 in Maryland. We also honor the sacrifices and dedication of individuals, including Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass – two great Maryland abolitionists – who, in the face of adversity, remained steadfast in their pursuit of freedom and liberty. As a nation, we continue to honor those who tirelessly work towards the goals of freedom and equality for all African Americans – economic, social and judicial equality.
“On Juneteenth, we look to the future. While we celebrate the progress and many accomplishments our nation has made in addressing hate and inequality, our mission is far from complete and we must keep moving forward to a time when all Americans fully enjoy equal rights under the law, on paper and in practice. We pledge that our march towards freedom and equality will continue and that we will not allow those who peddle fear and prejudice to take our country backwards. We celebrate diversity as a strength of America and the incredible contributions that African Americans have made in our society since the founding of our nation.
“Juneteenth is a time for us to come together and remember the sacrifices made by African Americans who helped create a better future for many. It is through these individuals that we have a clear path to follow, one that rigorously pursues justice, equality, and liberty for all. Today, the 154th commemoration of Juneteenth, we will continue to learn from those who preceded us, and fight to ensure a brighter world for those who follow.”