WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?
Juneteenth or June 19, 1865, is celebrated as the date when enslavement ended in America. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3, on the "19th of June," almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Whereas, America's Independence Day Movement, initiated by the Declaration of Independence and the "4th of July", 1776, did not include the enslaved descendants of African-Americans nor were they recognized as full human beings. Freedom from slavery was initiated by the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and formally announced by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas on the "19th of June", 1865, through the reading of General Order No. 3, to the last group of slaves in bondage, creating America's 2nd Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African-American holiday observance, the "19th of June", Juneteenth Independence Day.
Whereas, the "19th of June" is the freedom forerunner to the 13th Amendment, which implemented freedom for all slaves in the United States, Juneteenth Independence Day completes the cycle of Independence Day Celebrations in America. In 1997, the 105th Congress of the United States passed Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56 officially recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day in America. A Presidential Proclamation is all that is required for Juneteenth Independence Day to be recognized as a National Holiday in America, without the burden on tax-payers as a paid federal holiday. We, the undersigned, support the request of Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council for you to issue a Presidential Proclamation establishing the "19th of June" as National Juneteenth Independence Day in America.
Whereas, on the "19th of June", 2000, during the historic 1st Annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000 National Holiday Observance, House Concurrent Resolution 356, a formal apology for slavery was sponsored in Congress by Congressman Tony Hall (D-OH). We, the undersigned, support the establishment of a National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement during the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day and request that you establish a National Juneteenth Commission to advise you and future Presidents on how the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day can bring all Americans together with the goal of promoting greater understanding and racial healing.
With Respect and Thanks,
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