154 years ago today - two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation - Major General Gordon Granger issued an order at Galveston, Texas stating that the Civil War had ended, and mandating the freedom of all 250,000 slaves in the state.
The annual observance of this day - called Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day - is both a celebration and an acknowledgement. We celebrate the eradication of slavery in the United States and the innumerable contributions made by the African-American community to our country. Simultaneously, we acknowledge how far we have to go to achieve true equity for Americans of all races, nationalities, backgrounds and ethnicities.
I am a proud cosponsor of the 2019 Observance of Juneteenth Independence Day, to commemorate the vital importance of this day for our nation, and of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.
I am humbled and honored to be the first African-American Congresswoman in the history of Connecticut. I cherish the trailblazers that came before me every single day. However, historic days such as this further impress upon me the sacrifices that made my service as your Representative possible, and the reasons I came to Congress in the first place.
I stand here, on the shoulders of my ancestors and community, to continue the fight against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexuality, nationality or any other background.
I stand here to say that we get a seat at the table-
that YOU get a seat at the table-
and that no one can tell us we don't belong.
In 1865, we fought for basic freedom. Today, we build on the hard-earned progress of our predecessors to advocate for access, opportunity, and equity. As long as I am in Congress, I will advance true equality and dignity for all Americans without hesitation.
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