Dear – – –

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, but it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced that the Black people who were enslaved there were finally free.

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

Today, on June 19, we commemorate the official end to slavery as an institution in the United States, while also acknowledging the continued fight for true liberation for Black people in America.

It has been 155 years since June 19, 1865, yet our hearts break as Black and brown bodies continue to be profiled, surveilled, policed, lynched, choked, brutalized, and murdered at the hands of police officers.

There can be no justice for those whose lives have been stolen, so we fight for accountability. But we know, too, that the yoke of institutional oppression and systemic racism extends well beyond violence at the hands of law enforcement.

So, if we care about Black lives and are serious about racial justice, we must fight for an end to police brutality, but we must also care about the lives of Black mothers, the barriers to Black homeownership, the challenges facing Black student borrowers, the pushout of Black girls, and the economic hardship visited on Black businesses.

Racial justice is inextricably tied to all forms of justice. It’s about economic justice, housing justice, education justice, environmental justice, and more.

We must be intentional about fighting for Black liberation, justice, and reparations, even — and especially — when it’s inconvenient. We need more than allies, we need accomplices who call out white supremacy when they encounter it in their daily lives.

And we can start now. We can choose to support Black owned businesses today and everyday to advance economic justice. After supporting and purchasing from a Black-owned business, highlight that business on social media by tweeting with #BuyBlack.

Today, we recommit ourselves to fighting for justice, and to uplifting Black excellence. Black innovation. Black history. Black futures. Black joy. Black brilliance.

In solidarity,

Ayanna Pressley


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