On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers marched to Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished. More than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, around 250,000 enslaved people had yet to be freed in Texas. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, Juneteenth was always a special occasion.
So this Juneteenth—especially as this year marks 400 years since enslaved Africans first arrived to America—we celebrate the incredible path African Americans have traveled and honor those who gave so much to bring us here today.
But although we’ve come a long way, we’ve still got much further to go to achieve full equality and healing. That’s why I’m also a proud, longtime supporter of H.R. 40—the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act—and I’m encouraged by Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue of reparations.
So as we celebrate Juneteenth and the road we’ve traveled, let’s also take this time to reflect on the work that remains. Happy Juneteenth!