June 19, 2022
Elected Officials to Protect America celebrates Juneteenth as a historic victory for human rights and the end of chattel slavery. This seminal holiday stands as a milestone for how far we have come as a nation but also reminds us that systemic racism and oppression still exist. As an organization dedicated to the values of diversity, equity and equality, Elected Officials to Protect America strives to always view the impacts of the climate crisis and environmental degradation within the context of a history of systematic racism.
The policies and practices contributing to the climate crisis disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities. Elected Officials to Protect America is dedicated to ensuring leaders from these affected communities have equitable and equal voices in decisions and solutions affecting their communities.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, when the last enslaved people in the United States were officially set free per the Emancipation Act, which had been signed in 1863. When General Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 his army found at least 250,000 enslaved people still captive and set them free from their oppressive slave owners. Although their emancipation took two painful unjust years longer than other enslaved Americans in other states, that eventful day became known as “Freedom Day” and “Jubilee Day,” and is widely acknowledged as the true end of legal slavery in the United States. President Biden officially made Junteenth a federal holiday in 2021.
For many people, this day elicits a range of emotions. It is believed that well over 12.5 million humans were victims of the transatlantic slave trade. As we celebrate the freedom of enslaved African Americans, we mourn and honor those who fought for emancipation but never got to see that momentous day in 1865.
We must always be cognizant and acknowledge the long history of oppression and racism that followed, and still continues to this day. Redlining divided communities and codified systemic racism into property values. It then opened the door for industrial operations and companies that spew toxic waste to set up their businesses in redlined districts across the country. These communities deserve justice.
People of color have been the driving force behind so many of our country’s largest social movements, even when that has come at a great cost. America owes them a debt of gratitude for making our nation a more perfect union. Every citizen needs to stand united against systemic racism. Black Lives Matter.
If history has taught us anything, it is that real, effective change and progress stems from intersectionality. The climate crisis, which has taken the largest toll on low income and communities of color, will not be solved without the environmental justice movement. Elected Officials to Protect America takes steps to include the perspectives and ideas from frontline community leaders in all of our projects.
We can best memorialize those that fought for their freedom all those years ago by making sure that their ancestors, and every citizen of this country, actually lives in a nation that fights for equity every single day.