June 19, 2009

Statement of Senator Gillibrand on Juneteenth Independence Day

Washington, D.C. --  U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today in honor of Juneteenth Independence Day, the celebration of the freeing of slaves held in the American Southwest Territories.  
 
“On this Juneteenth Independence Day, we celebrate the final promise of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Historically, the day has held special pride for African Americans, but we now recognize Juneteenth as a holiday for all Americans to solemnly observe slavery’s final demise, and to joyfully celebrate freedom for all with a shared sense of responsibility, inspiration and encouragement.”  
 
“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.   For over 140 years, Juneteenth Independence Day celebrations have been held to honor African-American freedom, culture and consciousness, while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures.  I am honored to serve as a sponsor of the important resolution commemorating Juneteenth Independence Day and pleased that the final stage of Emancipation will be recognized as a national, and even global event, and that the history behind the celebration will not be forgotten.”
 
“Adding to the impact of Juneteenth, I was proud to have had the privilege to preside over the U.S. Senate as the historic Slavery Resolution passed yesterday.  While a blight on our history exists, it is somewhat tempered by these two timely measures, and it is with optimism that I see our nation moving forward together.”