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Today we honor the history, leadership, and resilience of Black Americans and recommit to the unfinished work of ending systemic racism. As we continue to fight against the legacies of slavery that are entrenched in our criminal legal system and institutions, we hold steadfast to a vision of true freedom and equality.

Today is also a time when we reflect on the lessons of those who have come before us. The visionaries who challenged injustice and dared to dream of a more equitable society, the freedom fighters who placed their bodies on the line to demand civil rights, the brilliant artists who inspired us through art that illuminates social injustices, the timeless leaders whose stories inspire us to this day, and the countless others who were instrumental in guiding us to this moment. We honor them and see them again in the new generations taking to the streets today to demand justice.

Today we ask you to stand with the Movement for Black Lives. It is incumbent upon all of us to meet the demand of this moment of deep reckoning with our country’s history of racism and injustice. We must harness the energy of the current moment to create lasting, transformative change, from our criminal legal system to our educational institutions, healthcare, economy, and beyond. It will take all of us.

So on this day of celebration and recognition, let us reflect, draw strength from one another, and come together in our commitment to realize the unfilled promise of Juneteenth.

IMAGE: flickr Anthony Crider CC BY 2.0

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