Americans Just Celebrated Our Newest Federal Holiday: Another Step on the Path Toward Justice

Jun 20, 2021 | PDA News

In pursuit of liberty and justice for all,

Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team

Juneteenth: Promises Kept, Broken, and Yet to Keep


After 156 years, Juneteenth, commemorating the end of chattel slavery, has become a national holiday. Although until recently it has been celebrated primarily in African American communities, Juneteenth is a truly American holiday, marking a new beginning after the cataclysm of the Civil War and the resilience of people both to endure and to change.

The first Juneteenth celebrations were held in 1866 throughout African American communities in Texas, marking our country’s second independence day.

Juneteenth celebrates freedom, hope, resilience, and the commonality of the American experience even as we remember the horrors at its roots. It is a springboard to commemorate the advancement of freedom and to educate Americans on lesser-known parts of our shared history.

However, awareness and acknowledgment are only first steps on a long road toward the ideal of Liberty and Justice For All. Without substantive action, the holiday becomes a mere token and its promise rings hollow.

PDA continues to press for passage of the For The People Act and other voting rights legislation. We are in the vanguard of advocacy for Medicare For All and universal healthcare. Our activists join with allies to fight environmental injustice, and work toward social and racial equity.

And to carry on and expand these campaigns, we need your continuing financial support. Please become a monthly sustainer of PDA with a recurring gift of $27, $19, or whatever amount fits your monthly budget. Together, we will honor and realize the promise of Juneteenth.