The celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day is a reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made by African-Americans and people of conscience in the long struggle for liberation. Over 150 years later, with so many challenges facing African-Americans ranging from disparities in access to healthcare and economic opportunities to a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts African-Americans, this Juneteenth is a solemn reminder of the work that remains to build the truly just and equal society.
As we reflect on the hard-won abolition of the system of chattel slavery in the United States, one of the great moments of progress in human history, we must also be determined to keep pushing for dismantling the racist systems that replaced it. From structural inequalities in our economy that hold back black advancement to a criminal justice system that fills prisons with black and brown youth; from our education system that remains starkly separate and unequal to the inadequate and deadly lack of access to health care in our communities, the long march to freedom and justice must continue.
The history of the Democratic Party itself is a history of this struggle. For more than a century, our Party was all too often on the wrong side of history, and even great Democratic leaders relied on support from open racists to win elections. The heroic work of ordinary men and women led by civil rights organizers like Fannie Lou Hamer broke the hold of segregationists and bigots on our Party. It is their work that made the Barack Obama presidency possible, and it is their example that we must follow today in fighting to ensure that Black Lives Matter.
Let’s keep marching.
Eric C. Bauman, Chair
California Democratic Party
Darren W. Parker, Chair
California Democratic Party African-American Caucus