IBLC honors civil rights leaders, advocates on Juneteenth
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) issued the following statement in honor of Juneteenth, which commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States upon the emancipation of slaves in Galveston, Texas in 1865:
“Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. – The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.”
~ Frederick Douglass
“When Frederick Douglass delivered these words in his famed, 'What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,' address he was adamant in stating that his presence at the convention did not mitigate the fact that he was on stage while his brethren were enslaved.
“As we celebrate Juneteenth, 'Freedom Day,' his words come to mind. We are reminded of the day soldiers rode into Galveston, TX and told the enslaved people they were free. We are reminded of the jubilation that ran through their veins in the name of freedom and the sorrow for those who did not live to see it.
“As we celebrate this holiday, we are grateful for the leaders of movement who set the pace for liberation. We are forever indebted to Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. King, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson, and so many others. This year freedom feels different with justice for George Floyd but not for Ma'Khia Bryant. We celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday but are cognizant of the protests around the country to incorporate diverse teachings into school curriculums.
“We are grateful that freedom has come so far, but we are aware that freedom is a journey. It is a marathon and we must hold individuals, officials and organizations accountable as we move forward. We encourage you to remain involved in your community and we hope that you seek to be a catalyst for change. Until we are all free, we will celebrate the wins and take heed of the losses because on this journey, it all matters.
“We hope that you enjoy every moment of Emancipation Day, Freedom Day; or most commonly known as Juneteenth. Make sure you enjoy black-eyed peas for prosperity, collard greens for wealth and red drinks that connect the African Diaspora. Frederick Douglass spoke of liberty and independence and as we strive to achieve these ideas as African Americans we will still bravely celebrate the day that the soldiers rode into Galveston, TX and told our people, 'You are free, go forth…' So in the spirit of those before us, go forth and change the world. Ashé.”