Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Juneteenth Celebration of America
Maryam Ar-Raheem and Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA national team
A Holiday for America’s Promise of “Liberty and Justice for All”
This year is the second observance of the federal holiday, Juneteenth. It was originally celebrated as “Jubilee Day” in 1865 in Texas.
We celebrate with both gladness and trepidation. Gladness for the countrywide recognition of an historical and cultural milestone, we nonetheless reflect on the length of time that it took (156 years), and the slow progress from enslavement to the present where African Americans have not yet gained full and unencumbered participation in the American experiment.
Although said participation does not appear to be immediately attainable, we can be inspired by James Weldon Johnson’s song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” colloquially known as the Black National Anthem:
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies
Let it resound as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.
Progressive Democrats of America celebrates Juneteenth 2022 with gladness and determination to make progress toward the American promise of Liberty and Justice for All.