(June 18, 2021) The designation of a federal holiday to mark Juneteenth – the commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States – is both a time for celebration and a cause for somber reflection, said NASCUS President and CEO Lucy Ito in a statement issued by NASCUS this week.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden (D) signed into law a measure marking Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Ito issued her statement in keeping with the association’s commitment made a year ago in the wake of the death of George Floyd that NASCUS believes that Black lives matter and NASCUS and the state system are committed to fostering an environment free of racism where everyone is seen, heard and respected.
“Juneteenth is a time to celebrate the word of freedom reaching the enslaved in Texas in late 1865 and the end of lawful slavery in the country,” Ito said. “It is a time for somber reflection on the fact that too many have had to wait for the freedom and individual dignity upon which our nation was founded to apply to them. The civil unrest and social justice movements of today are a reminder that for many, the wait for true equality and opportunity continues.
“NASCUS deeply values the diverse experiences and voices of our staff, leadership, and members. But we fully appreciate that this is not enough. As we reflect on this Juneteenth, we at NASCUS recommit ourselves to the ideals of equality and respect to which we, as a society, should aspire. And we celebrate Juneteenth and its overdue nationwide recognition as an essential thread in our national fabric.”