Massachusetts Appleseed’s office is closed today in observance of Juneteenth, the annual holiday marking the day that federal troops marched into Galveston, Texas and freed those who remained enslaved more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This act reminds us that freedom and justice are never easily given but must be fought for, and that the enforcement of legal rights is as essential as their mandate.

Once again, our commemoration of Juneteenth coincides with powerful, community-led demands for systemic change and renewed opportunities to dismantle the structures that fuel white supremacy and perpetuate racial injustice. As we confront the ways systemic, anti-Black racism has continually evolved and taken shape through destructive policies that deny access to justice, safety, and opportunity – from redlining, to the school-to-prison pipeline, and countless more manifestations – this Saturday serves as a reminder that America’s history is not past, but continues to inform our present inequities.

We are glad to see Massachusetts mark Juneteenth as an official state holiday this year, and there continue to be many ways to celebrate:

To our Black colleagues, leaders, and partners, we hope today and tomorrow are days of celebration, joy, and rest. To our white and non-Black colleagues of color, we invite you to join us in commemorating Juneteenth through education, reflection, and action by elevating and giving space to Black voices, engaging with Black history that too often goes untaught, and honoring and remembering the organizers and activists who have always pushed this country to live up to its foundational ideals. Together, we can take steps forward in our pursuit of a future where the full humanity of every person is protected and the promises of freedom, justice, and equity are realized.


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