NYC Public Advocate's Statement On The Celebration Of Juneteenth

June 19th, 2023

Press Release

"Juneteenth is a celebration – of freedom, of empowerment, of resilience, of the strength and successes of the Black community in this country. At the same time, it is also a reminder – of where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how far we still have to go.

"Like many Americans of African ancestry, I find myself in a space of simultaneously celebrating the recognition of Juneteenth, while also understanding that it pales in the context of what was demanded, but never delivered. 

"Many corporate organizations and government institutions are eager, especially today, to lift up Black individuals in high positions, to mark a show of progress on racial equity. And it is certainly progress, and welcome. However, we cannot conflate the success of individuals with the overall success of the entire Diaspora. If one person succeeds, and not a community with them, that success is limited, and can be used to obscure and perpetuate injustice. We need a focus on power and progress not just individually, but systemically.

"In the 158 years since Juneteenth began with the proclamation of freedom for enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas, we have marched forward, persevering through hardship and progressing toward true liberty and justice. Let us march on till victory is won.

"Today, we celebrate the cause of freedom and the fight for liberation and justice; tomorrow, we work to build a better New York City and nation."

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