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Juneteenth holiday enshrines importance of freedom for all

(Source: International Brotherhood of Teamsters press release, June 17, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Marcus King, Director of the Teamsters’ Human Rights and Diversity Commission, on the signing of legislation that would memorialize Juneteenth, the June 19 anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas were finally notified they had been freed as a result of the end of the Civil War two months earlier, as a paid federal holiday.

“One year ago, in the wake of unjustified deadly actions taken by some members of law enforcement against Black Americans across the country, the Teamsters endorsed a Juneteenth federal holiday to recognize the day more than a century and a half ago when the last of those enslaved received their legal freedom. We are pleased to see President Biden and Congress follow through with its creation.

“But just as real justice for African Americans didn’t result from that notification in 1865, the fight for equality doesn’t end here either. This union recognizes that we all must do more to ensure people of color can live their lives and have full access to the same rights and freedoms that so many of us enjoy without fear of reprisal. Creating a Juneteenth holiday doesn’t do that by itself, but it will continue America’s evolution towards truly bringing liberty and justice for all, and acknowledging our shared history.

“For more than a century, the Teamsters have stood for racial equality. And we remain resolute in continuing to serve as leaders in ensuring that all workers, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, receive equal pay and protections on the job. That’s what this union can do to make sure our nation lives up to its promise.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

Friday, June 18, 2021

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