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June 19, 2020

On Juneteenth, King Releases Video Recognizing Need for Reflection, Importance of Action to Address Systemic Racial Injustices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) shared the following insights to commemorate Juneteenth. In the video, Senator King reflects upon the date’s significance in our national history, emphasizes the continued failings in America’s approach to ensuring racial justice, and challenges Americans to “live our creed,” fight for equality and to listen to one another. Senator King's video can be downloaded HERE.

“On June 19th, 1865, a Union General arrived in Galveston Texas to tell the slaves there that they were free,” said Senator King. “This was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, indeed after the end of the civil war. For the past 155 years, Juneteenth has been a day of celebration for African Americans and for all Americans to recognize this important step towards freedom. But the path to freedom isn’t complete. It wasn’t complete in 1865, and sadly it’s not complete today. We still have conflict, we still have violence against Black people, we still have systemic racism in our country. It’s part of what we have to keep striving to do to form a more perfect union. We need more than rhetoric, we need action. And I’m hoping that in the next several weeks – here in the United States Congress, we will see meaningful action to diminish the scourge of violence against black people at the hands of the police.


We also need to continue to listen to one another. Eloquent listening is what we need. We have to stop and think about – those of us who are white – what it’s like to be pulled over for no reason. What it’s like to be fearful of the police, rather than to view the police as your protectors. What it’s like to be in a community where you’re a distinct minority, and it’s obvious to everyone that you’re in that minority. We have to stop and think about the systematic problems of race in this country, going back 400 years


Juneteenth this year has special meaning. It has special meaning because of the events following the death of George Floyd. It has special meaning because of all of the people that have gone to the streets – I, myself, being one of them. I was in a demonstrate right here in Washington several weeks ago, with thousands of others – just talking about the promise of America and what people need. Those protesters were not asking for anything new, extraordinary, or special. All they were asking – all they are asking – all I’m asking – is that we meet the promise of America, that we live our creed.


Earlier this month, Senator King joined protestors in Washington D.C. to add his voice to the cries for racial justice. He has also voted as a member of the Armed Services Committee to begin the process of renaming all military bases named after Confederate soldiers, and has pressed the Department of the Interior for answers on the U.S. Park Police’s behavior toward protestors demonstrating outside of the White House in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.






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