The National Organization for Women recognizes and celebrates Juneteenth, commemorating the day that the last enslaved people were emancipated. Juneteenth has long been recognized by Black communities on the statewide level but was only recognized last year as a federal holiday. However, many Americans still do not know the history behind the day. This lack of awareness shows how storytellers and those in positions of power control the narrative of history– and it’s something we’re continuing to see in banning books that tell diverse stories.
Juneteenth is a time to not only celebrate freedom but Black mothers and fathers, Black youth, Black LGBTQIA, and Black joy. However, in 2022, we still witness racial discrimination as a core American value as we continue to fail to listen to communities of color. Instead of listening to the Black community about its need concerning gun violence, police reform, healthcare, wealth inequities, and other civil liberties, Black communities are still being met with performative acts that continue to uphold barriers that reflect our past.
We cannot achieve absolute equality without dismantling the systems of oppression. Overcoming these systems will start with fully recognizing and discussing the history of race in this country, acknowledging our relationship to slavery, and how that system created the world we live in full of inequality and social structures that were built to oppress.
Achieving racial justice is a core issue for NOW. We are dedicated to continuing to hold ourselves accountable and do better, as well as pushing our society to do and be better. We will continue to amplify diverse voices and experiences when we talk about the history of our country and current events. We will push for legislation that will protect vulnerable communities and keep working to dismantle oppressive and racist systems.
This Juneteenth, NOW celebrates the bravery and resilience of enslaved women and men and honors their legacy through our commitment to educating our members and uplifting marginalized voices. We cannot continue the fight for gender equality without fighting for racial justice.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.