Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, has said that Juneteenth’s history is “the story of our ongoing fight to realize America’s promise – not for some, but for all.” That was the “story of our ongoing struggle to fulfill America’s promise,” as she put it. Harris, the first Black vice president in American history, spoke at “A Global Celebration for Freedom” in Los Angeles on the national holiday honoring the end of slavery.
In 1865, the year slavery was finally abolished in the United States, the commemoration began to celebrate the abolitionists’ victory. As he reminded the crowd that “the fight for civil rights must be fought and won with each generation,” Harris evoked ideas of freedom and justice by referencing a famous statement by Coretta Scott King. According to Harris, King “reminds us that our freedoms are not permanent unless each generation is vigilant in defending them.”
We, the people of the United States of America, must band together to protect our rights, maintain our heritage, and maintain the struggle for independence. Two years after June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they were free, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is celebrated annually to honor this accomplishment.
Although the day has been observed and enjoyed by the African-American community for decades, it has only recently gained the interest of the general public. In 2021, Juneteenth replaced MLK Day as the first newly established federal holiday. Joe Biden signed a bill into law that has the support of every lawmaker.
During the CNN broadcast from the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, other performers joined Harris on stage. Charlie Wilson, Miguel, Kirk Franklin, Nelly, SWV, Davido, and Coi Leray were among those who performed. Chloe Bailey, who is a performer in her own right, honored Tina Turner during the event.