Juneteenth takes on special meaning this year as the fight for justice has proven to be far from over. In the words of the late great Shirley Chisholm, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, bring a folding chair!” The time is now for Black women to be in elected office at every level of government. We have the opportunity to ensure that freedom is not delayed, but enacted today! Please join us in supporting our amazing Black women candidates running right here in Washington state. We’ve expanded to include our Democratic incumbents, Rep. Debra Entenman and Rep. Melanie Morgan, as well as candidates for additional down ballot races. This Juneteenth, please celebrate freedom by donating to these incredible candidates.
History of Juneteenth
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and approximately 2000 union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform Texans of the Emancipation Proclamation--two years after the Proclamation went into effect. The reaction from formerly enslaved people, now freed, was both shock and elation. The significance and the reason why Juneteenth has been declared the “the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States" is that it represents ‘freedom delayed’ for those Black folks in Texas. Juneteenth now in many ways is a revitalization of the themes of the original grassroots Juneteenth celebrations that of family, education, and paying homage to the history of black folks in the United States.
The spread of this local celebration from Texas outward can be credited to the Great Migration, Black people took traditions of celebrating the 19th when they moved to places like California to reunite with family or to Arkansas for employment. Another notable reason for the spread of celebrating the 19th was the civil rights movement. It engendered this notion of pride and respect for Black people and their history which valorized celebrating the day the last group of African Americans went free. Similarly, in the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s death, Coretta Scott King, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, and other organizers fulfilled King’s plans for the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C. The themes of the march--poverty, freedom, remembering Black people’s history-- tied well with the celebration of Juneteenth; and therefore, the importance of celebrating Juneteenth was the closing sentiment of the march. Delegates from across the nation, who attended the march, took this message back to their respective states and it spread accordingly.
Gates, Henry Louis. “What Is Juneteenth? African American History Blog.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 19 Sept. 2013, www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/.
“History of Juneteenth .” Juneteenth World Wide Celebration, www.juneteenth.com/history.htm.
Huddleston, Tom. “Juneteenth: The 155-Year-Old Holiday's History Explained.” CNBC, 17 June 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/06/15/what-is-juneteenth-holidays-history-explained.html.
Luthern, Ashley. “Why Juneteenth Celebrates the New Birth of Freedom.” Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Institution, 19 June 2009, www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/juneteenth-a-new-birth-of-freedom-9572263/.
Smithsonian. “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth.” National Museum of African American History and Culture, 19 July 2019, https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth
What is happening in Washington State?
For the past 30 years, it has been black voters, particularly black women, who are the backbone of the democratic electorate. Black communities need representation in the room where it happens.
We have a terrific opportunity to multiply the number of Black women in Washington State government this year -- including adding a Black Senator for the first time since 2010.
In a world demanding justice, the election of Democratic Black women to elected offices will provide access for many voters.
Thank you to these brave, powerful women who have stepped up to run and represent their communities.
Tanisha Harris, 17th Legislative District (House)
Joy Pratt Stanford, 26th Legislative District (House)
T'wina Nobles, 28th Legislative District (Senate)
Representative Melanie Morgan, 29th Legislative District (Re-Elect for House)
Jamila Taylor, 30th Legislative District (House)
Shirley Sutton, 32nd Legislative District (House)
Kirsten Harris-Talley, 37th Legislative District (House)
April Berg, 44th Legislative District (House)
Representative Debra Entenman, 47th Legislative District (Re-Elect for House)