Blog entry reposted from The Freedom Commons
Today is Juneteenth! What, you may ask, is that? Juneteenth is the oldest-known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
In 1865, people didn't find things out instantly by reading a blog post, checking the trends on Twitter or watching a CNN iReport. News traveled slowly. So on June 19 of that year, when Maj. General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, TX, he was the first (!) to announce that the Confederacy was defeated and all slaves were officially free. (A note for context: this was 2+ years after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation.)
The fight for freedom is a long one, making it all the more important to acknowledge and appreciate the critical victories and milestones—like Juneteenth—we've passed along the way. The unfortunate truth is that we still have a long way to go when it comes to truly ending modern-day slavery, in the United States and around the world.
Fast-forward from 1865 to this year, on the Capitol steps of the Lone Star State. A group of students and activists gathered with state government officials to celebrate the passage of a resolution officially declaring April 10 as "Texas Ending Modern Slavery Day." Together, they asked Senators Cornyn and Cruz to co-sponsor the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (EMSI) of 2015, a bill that if enacted will have an immense impact.
And so the abolition movement rolls on, victory by victory, milestone by milestone. The passionate and diligent work of men and women of conscience has carried us from before Juneteenth in 1865 to April 10 in 2015, and will carry us beyond.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.