WASHINGTON — Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) released the following statement [yesterday night] commemorating the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth:

“I join in celebrating Juneteenth and commemorating the end of slavery.  This year’s Juneteenth is a special one, as it is the first to be observed as a federal holiday, thanks to the legislation championed in the House by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee that I was proud to bring to the Floor this week.  Now that President Biden has signed that bill into law, Juneteenth will be celebrated across the country.  That is so important because too often Black History is left out when studying and celebrating the full scope of American History. 

“As we mark this year’s Juneteenth, I urge Americans to take this moment to reflect on how our union has become more perfect through the actions of those who have striven to make it so.  Throughout our history, whenever certain groups faced injustices or the exclusion from our democracy and from ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ Americans have worked to address those shortcomings.  We cannot brush the history of slavery in this nation under the rug.  Juneteenth recognizes that legacy and its impact today, and it does so by celebrating and elevating all those who contributed to abolition and emancipation, including the many courageous African Americans like Maryland’s own Harriet Tubman who risked life and limb to escape and rescue others from bondage.  Juneteenth is our day to honor them and to cherish liberty. 

“I wish all of my fellow Americans a very joyous and meaningful Juneteenth.  May we continue to look to our history for inspiration as we seek to build a better country and a more perfect union in our day and for the future.”