Joan McCarthy Lasonde, released the following statement in commemoration of Juneteenth (6-19-18):
“Today we commemorate that on this day, June 19th, back in 1865, the last slaves of African descent were finally freed two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation executive order (January 1, 1863), when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas after the end of the Civil War.
We celebrate this day, and we must continue to learn from our history, and recommit to making sure that no matter who we are or where we came from we are all created equal. We need to respect each other and treat each other with dignity and kindness not in-spite of our differences in race, skin color, religion, gender or sexual orientation, but rather because of our differences.
It is unacceptable that modern-day slavery, exploitation and trafficking of humans still exists. There is so much more for us to do to truly make all people equal, and today is a day to remind ourselves to not repeat the past and instead to make a concentrated effort to work towards being better neighbors dedicated to building better communities, better states, a better country and a better world.”