Statement by President Joe Biden on Juneteenth

The White House

One year ago, I had the great honor of signing legislation to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday-the first new federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day nearly four decades ago. Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation and a promise of a brighter morning to come. It is a day of profound weight and power that reminds us of our extraordinary capacity to heal, hope, and emerge from our most painful moments into a better version of ourselves. Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They confront them to grow stronger. And that is what this great nation must continue to do.

But, it’s not enough to just commemorate Juneteenth. Emancipation marked the beginning, not the end, of America’s work to deliver on the promise of equality. To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth, we must not rest until we deliver the promise of America for all Americans.

That is why Vice President Harris and I have appointed leadership in the federal government that looks like America. Our Administration is taking a whole-of-government approach to advance equity and racial justice and address the lasting impacts of systemic racism on Black communities. We have implemented initiatives to expand economic opportunity for Black families, provided historic support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, improved health outcomes for Black communities, and taken important steps to protect voting rights, advance police reform, and enhance access to justice.

This is a day to celebrate, to educate, and to act. As we mark Juneteenth, my Administration will continue our efforts to root out inequity from our country and institutions and ensure true liberty and justice for all.

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