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The National Black Justice Coalition Celebrates as President Biden Signs Juneteenth National Independence Day Act Into Law

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro |

WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law as a federal holiday to commemorate the date of June 19, 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas.

In response to the news, David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, issued the following statement:

“We applaud Congress and the Biden administration for taking the initiative to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. We are optimistic that today marks a new beginning — our government is finally beginning to take responsibility for the legacy of slavery and its impact on Black people in the United States.

“Juneteenth gives us all a moment to recognize the generational trauma, pain, and struggle that slavery caused in America. Today, our government is finally beginning to acknowledge and reckon with systemic racism against Black people, which includes the reality that the Fourth of July only represented independence for some of us.  The work ahead will not be easy, and our jobs are far from over. This new federal holiday, while symbolic, is a sign that the United States federal government is beginning to take responsibility for the atrocities of slavery and the effects it continues to have on systemic racism, oppression, and race relations in modern-day.  After celebrating this important symbolic gesture we must continue doing the work to provide reparations including through federal legislation and executive actions”

“Today we celebrate, remember, and grieve the experiences of our ancestors; tomorrow our work continues to dismantle the remaining vestiges of the institution of Slavery so that we all may truly be free.”

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.