Juneteenth Day 2022

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NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2022, as Juneteenth Day of Observance.

A Proclamation on Juneteenth Day of Observance, 2022

JUNE 17, 2022•PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS

 After the Union Army captured New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Confederate states migrated to Texas with more than 150,000 enslaved Black persons.  For 3 years, even after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Black Americans in Texas remained in brutal bondage, immorally and illegally deprived of their freedom and basic dignity.  On June 19, 1865 — over 2 years after President Lincoln declared all enslaved persons free — Major General Gordon Granger and Union Army troops marched to Galveston, Texas, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free the last enslaved Black Americans in Texas. 

     Those who were freed from bondage celebrated their long-overdue emancipation on June 19.  Today, our Nation commemorates Juneteenth:  a chance to celebrate human freedom, reflect on the grievous and ongoing legacy of slavery, and rededicate ourselves to rooting out the systemic racism that continues to plague our society as we strive to deliver the full promise of America to every American.

     This Juneteenth, we are freshly reminded that the poisonous ideology of racism has not yet been defeated — it only hides.  Our Nation continues to mourn the 10 lives senselessly taken in Buffalo, New York, and grieve for the families who have lost a piece of their soul.  As we confront the awful reality of yet another gunman massacring innocent people in the name of hatred, racism, and fear, we must meet this moment with renewed resolve.  We must stand together against white supremacy and show that bigotry and hate have no safe harbor in America. 

      Juneteenth is a day to reflect on both bondage and freedom — a day of both pain and purpose.  It is, in equal measure, a remembrance of both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, as well as a celebration of the promise of a brighter morning to come.  On Juneteenth, we remember our extraordinary capacity to heal, to hope, and to emerge from our worst moments as a stronger, freer, and more just Nation.  It is also a day to celebrate the power and resilience of Black Americans, who have endured generations of oppression in the ongoing journey toward equal justice, equal dignity, equal rights, and equal opportunity in America.

     Last year, I was proud to sign bipartisan legislation establishing Juneteenth as our newest Federal holiday, so that all Americans can feel the power of this day, learn from our history, celebrate our progress, and recognize and engage in the work that continues.  Great nations do not ignore their most painful moments — they face them.  We grow stronger as a country when we honestly confront our past injustices, including the profound suffering and injustice wrought by slavery and generations of segregation and discrimination against Black Americans.  To heal, we must remember.  We must never rest until the promise of our Nation is made real for all Americans.

     The emancipation of enslaved Black Americans was not the end of our Nation’s work to deliver on the promise of equality — it was only the beginning.  On Juneteenth, we recommit to our shared work to ensure racial justice, equity, and equality in America.  We commemorate the centuries of struggle and progress led by abolitionists, educators, civil rights advocates, lawyers, activists, trade unionists, religious leaders, public officials, and everyday Americans who have brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise. 

     As my good friend, the late Congressman Elijah Cummings, said, “Our children are the living messengers we send to a future we will never see.”  Together as a Nation, let us continue our work together to build a country we are all proud to pass along to our children — one where the foundational promises and ideals of America ring true for every child and every family.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2022, as Juneteenth Day of Observance.  I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and condemn the history of slavery in our Nation and recognize how the impact of America’s original sin remains.  I call on every American to celebrate the emancipation of all Black Americans and commit together to eradicate systemic racism and inequity that can never be tolerated and must always be fought against.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth. 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. 

EDITORIAL NOTE:
This year, June 19 falls on a Sunday, so the federal holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20

1 thought on “Juneteenth Day 2022

  1. This is powerful and I’m glad you made mention of this important holiday. It reminds me of poet Amanda Goman’s poem which she recited at the inauguration of President Biden. It touched me then, and today when I read it, it touched me even more. I will leave here for all to read the beautiful poem, The Hill We Climb.

    The Hill We Climb

    When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
    The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
    We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
    We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
    and the norms and notions of what ‘just’ is isn’t always justice.
    And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
    Somehow we do it.
    Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,
    but simply unfinished.
    We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
    ‘Never been more optimistic’: speeches, songs and celebrations cap Biden’s inauguration day – as it happened
    And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine,
    but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
    We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
    To compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters, and conditions of man.
    And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
    We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
    We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
    We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
    Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
    That even as we grieved, we grew.
    That even as we hurt, we hoped.
    That even as we tired, we tried.
    That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
    Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
    Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.
    If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
    That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.
    It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
    It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
    We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.
    Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
    This effort very nearly succeeded.
    But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
    it can never be permanently defeated.
    In this truth, in this faith, we trust,
    for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
    This is the era of just redemption.
    We feared it at its inception.
    We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
    but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
    So while once we asked, ‘How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?’ now we assert, ‘How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’
    We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be:
    A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
    We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
    Our blunders become their burdens.
    But one thing is certain:
    If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children’s birthright.
    So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
    With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
    We will rise from the golden hills of the west.
    We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution.
    We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
    We will rise from the sun-baked south.
    We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
    In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
    our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
    When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
    The new dawn blooms as we free it.
    For there is always light,
    if only we’re brave enough to see it.
    If only we’re brave enough to be it.

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