Boston celebrated Juneteenth on Sunday with a parade through Roxbury, as the community commemorated the day when enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally learned of their freedom more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
This year marks the second year that Juneteenth is being observed as a federal holiday.
“While we recognize that our fight for equity and justice continues today, on this day, we celebrate the Black family, our culture, our melanin, our resilience, our brilliance and our joy,” U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said on the House floor. “We affirm our humanity. We are more than hashtags, sobering statistics, deficits, disparities and gaps.
“We are more than our labor, the resistance and justice-seekers,” she added. “From the heart of Texas to kitchen tables in Roxbury, we celebrate the dedicated coalition of Black folks who organized to make this celebration a federal holiday. Black lives matter. Black healing matters. Black joy matters.”
On Sunday, a Juneteenth parade wound from the Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury to the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists.
“Juneteenth is a reminder of America’s original sin of slavery — a day to reflect on our nation’s shared, painful history, as well as the work we still have to do in order to make equality and justice a reality for all,” U.S. Sen. Ed Markey tweeted. “It is a reminder that the struggle for racial justice in this country has too-often been delayed and unfulfilled, and that the true story of this nation has been hidden and diminished as we fail to reckon with our past head-on.”
“We must continue, on this Juneteenth and every day, to recommit ourselves and our agenda to the fight for justice in all its forms, and to the movement for Black liberation,” Markey wrote.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation in July 2020 declaring “Juneteenth Independence Day” as a state holiday, and the federal government deemed Juneteenth a national holiday last June.
Because Juneteenth fell on a Sunday this year, government buildings will be closed Monday. Also, mail will not be delivered on Monday, and most banks will be closed. Most grocery stores and restaurants will be open on Monday.
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