Rising Senate Star James Sanders, Jr. & Seasoned Assemblyman William Scarborough, both of Queens, Lead A Movement To Finally Make Juneteenth
A NYS Holiday, As It Is In Texas And Other States
2015 is a very special Historical year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ending of Slavery (one of the deplorable and embarrassing periods in U.S. history); the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma (which lead to the Voting Rights Act); the 150th anniversary since the slaying of President Lincoln and the 90th Birthday of Malcolm X. To give you some insight of Juneteenth and this monumental day of American history in 1865 there were an estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas. Even though the war was over the news did not reach Texas until May 1865, and the Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2. On June 18, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government. On June 19, standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read aloud the contents of “General Order No. 3” announcing the total emancipation of slaves.
Oprah Winfrey and a host of others brought us the Oscar nominated film Selma, which highlighted the Civil Rights Movement and the darkness of slavery. We are no match for Hollywood, but to take the positive energy of the film and the spirit of Dr. King and other freedom fighters to the next level, the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council and a host of community partners officially requested that Juneteenth be declared a holiday in NYS, like Texas, the state where the last group of slaves were freed. The efforts to make this request law are being lead by seasoned Assemblyman William “Gets the Job Done” Scarborough and rising Senate star Senator James Sanders, Jr. who have an official request in to Governor Cuomo as they continue to reach out to their peers for support. Whenever something progressive needed to be done in our state or community both elected officials worked hard to make it happen. As a progressive state we can no longer allow Texas and others to show more respect for the ending of slavery than we do in NYS. It sends the wrong message to our youth and a Black community that is losing faith in our justice system because of a rash of shootings and killings by the Police nationwide that were all caught on camera.
It is our intent to use the Holiday as an educational tool to start the healing process in minority communities by teaching young people about Juneteenth, their civic and social responsibility as citizens of this great nation and the Civil Rights Era, which gave birth to the “Raptivism” Movement and Hip-Hop Culture. We can’t let the death of Dr. King and other freedom fighters be in vain and this is a very important step toward keeping the “Dream of King” alive where citizens are judged by the content of the character and not the color of their skin. To further support Juneteenth we are launching the “End Black on Black Crime Project” to start the long awaited movement for Blacks to clean up their own house. The holiday request can only help with our mission to put an end to Gun & Gang Violence, as well as Black on Black Crime. Slavery represents the worst period in the history of this country and if we are not ready to have a conversation on race, let’s at least recognize Juneteenth as a holiday so all races can work together to ensure this part of our ugly history never happens again.
Fighting for the freedom and rights of others is a dangerous business as great men like President Lincoln, President Kennedy, along with his brother Jack, Martin King, Jr., Malcolm X and Gandhi were all gunned down by an assassin’s bullet. Gun violence continues to take the lives of our loved one today with no solution in sight. The ending of slavery started with The Emancipation Proclamation, which is arguably one of the top 10 most important documents in the history of the United States, but also one of the most misunderstood. President Lincoln issued the policy on January 1, 1863, as the country entered the third year of the Civil War. It declared that “all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”—but it applied only to states designated as being in rebellion, not to the slave-holding border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri or to areas of the Confederacy that had already come under Union control. With the Emancipation Proclamation, the aim of the war changed to include the freeing of slaves in addition to preserving the Union. Although the Proclamation initially only freed the slaves in the rebellious states, by the end of the war it influenced the end of slavery nationwide. The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States, was passed on December 6th, 1865. Heralded as the savior of the Union, President Lincoln actually considered the Emancipation Proclamation to be the most important facet of his legacy and stated, “I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper,” he declared. “If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it,” ended President Lincoln.
Slavery helped America become the greatest nation on earth and African-Americans have come a long way, yet there is a lot of work that has to be done to stop “Black-on-Black” crime, end Gun & Gang Violence and improve relations between the community and law enforcement agencies. For this to happen it starts with June 19th being declared a Holiday in the Great State of NY. With the present climate and tension going on in minority communities throughout NYS and in cities like Baltimore where the National Guard has been called in to restore order, we are confident that with the support of all of our elected officials in NYS we can reverse a negative trend and improve public safety, police and race relations in the Great State of New York.
For further info on how you can sign and/or carry the on/offline Petition or write Letters of Support to help make Juneteenth a NYS Holiday go to: HHSYC.org or for additional info on other ways to support this historical initiative or President Obama’s My Brothers Keeper project hit us up at: RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher (Twitter / Instagram / Facebook @HHSYC).