History, thankfully, is continually peeling back its layers to reveal a more diverse, raw, complex, and often painful yet representative story.
Today, June 19, our newest Federal Holiday, is one more important and powerful bend in that direction.
If you've found yourself wondering what this new Holiday is, you're probably not alone. This is why the elevation and education of this day are more important than ever. For there is nothing new about it.
Today, in 1865, news of emancipation finally reached the heart of the confederacy in Texas, confirming freedom for the last remaining slaves in the South.
Think about that. "You are free."
A sentence no Human should ever need to hear was uttered three months after the end of the Civil War, two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and 89 years after July 4, 1776, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
"You are free."
Obviously, there is nothing new about this moment of commemoration. And yet, how important for society to sit with that truth—that nearly 100 years after our flamboyantly celebrated Independence Day, freedom was a far cry for far too many.
And what is freedom? It would be another 100 years before the Civil Rights Act would abolish segregation and discrimination and another 50 before we would openly debate the racial disparities in education, justice, housing, healthcare, and more. And sadly, at least six more before we would witness the last breath of George Floyd under the knee of a collective society still struggling to define freedom at all.
So today, we stand in solidarity and optimism. In acknowledgment and commitment.
That freedom is a long and slow collective journey and not an individual destination.
It means that on our shores, until you are free, we are not free.