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JUNETEENTH IS EMANCIPATION DAY

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IKE RAYFORD, THE PRESIDENT OF SIOUX CITY’S NAACP CHAPTER, EXPLAINS WHY JUNETEENTH IS AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY:

AS WE OBSERVE JUNETEENTH, ALSO KNOWN AS EMANCIPATION DAY, WE HONOR A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY: ”THE DAY WHEN THE ENSLAVED AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN
GALVESTON, TEXAS, LEARNED OF THEIR FREEDOM ON JUNE 19, 1865.”

THIS MILESTONE CAME MORE THAN TWO YEARS AFTER THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, SYMBOLIZING THE RESILIENCE
AND PERSEVERANCE OF OUR ANCESTORS WHO FOUGHT TIRELESSLY FOR THEIR LIBERATION.

THE FREEDOMS THAT AFRICAN-AMERICANS ENJOY TODAY HAVE BEEN HARD-WON THROUGH CENTURIES OF STRUGGLE, SACRIFICE, AND UNYIELDING DETERMINATION. DESPITE THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY.

AFRICAN-AMERICANS HAVE CONTINUOUSLY HAD TO FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY.

THE BATTLES FOUGHT DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THE ONGOING FIGHT AGAINST SYSTEMIC RACISM, AND THE PERSISTENT EFFORTS TO SECURE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN ALL FACETS OF LIFE UNDERSCORE THAT THE JOURNEY TOWARD TRUE FREEDOM AND EQUALITY IS FAR FROM OVER.

TODAY, OUR FIGHT FOR FREEDOM CONTINUES THROUGH THE
ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND THE EXERCISE OF OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS.

BY FOSTERING ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT, WE BUILD A FOUNDATION OF STRENGTH AND INDEPENDENCE THAT
CAN SUPPORT AND UPLIFT FUTURE GENERATIONS.

BY ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING IN THE ELECTORAL
PROCESS, WE ENSURE THAT OUR VOICES ARE HEARD, OUR RIGHTS PROTECTED, AND OUR NEEDS ARE BETTER ADDRESSED.

THE BALLOT REMAINS ONE OF OUR MOST POWERFUL TOOLS IN THE ONGOING STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY.

AS WE COMMEMORATE JUNETEENTH, LET US CELEBRATE
THE FREEDOMS WE HAVE ACHIEVED WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THE WORK THAT REMAINS.

LET US DRAW INSPIRATION FROM THE PAST TO FUEL OUR EFFORTS TOWARD A BRIGHTER, MORE EQUITABLE FUTURE.

TODAY, WHETHER SPENT IN THE COMPANY OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS OR IN REFLECTIVE CONTEMPLATION, MAY WE HONOR THE LEGACY OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US AND COMMIT TO
THE CONTINUED FIGHT FOR TRUE FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

ENJOY THIS SIGNIFICANT DAY, AND MAY IT BE FILLED WITH BOTH JOY AND A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO OUR COLLECTIVE
PROGRESS.