Lt. Gov. Barnes today delivered the Democratic Radio Address wishing Wisconsinites a happy Juneteenth Day and recognizing the significance of celebrating Juneteenth in the midst of the current movement against systemic racism and injustice.
Hey Wisconsin, it’s Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, and I just want to wish you all a happy Juneteenth Day.
Juneteenth Day is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the official ending of slavery in America.
Now this Juneteenth has a little bit more significance for us. Even though last year, we recognized the 400-year anniversary of the unlawful and unwilling arrival of enslaved Africans on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia—this Juneteenth we find ourselves right in the middle of a movement.
A movement for Black lives to address the racial injustice and inequity that has taken place over the last 400 years and that is ingrained in so many of our systems today.
So when I sit back and reflect on Juneteenth, I consider what Freedom really means.
Freedom means opportunity. Freedom means being able to live. Freedom means being able to be who you are.
I know I can’t truly be free unless all people are free.
So on this Juneteenth, let’s celebrate the freedoms we have, but also hold close those that we are still fighting for.
As the Juneteenth Flag flies above the State Capitol for the very first time in our state’s history, we have to remember that our work will not be over until Black lives matter by way of equity and the opportunity to thrive.