Today is Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. But this year feels a little different, doesn’t it?
There are still protests and marches in the streets across the U.S. over police violence against people of color. We are 155 years past June 19, 1865, when slavery ended in Texas, and yet there is still a need to speak out and demand equality.
So today, let’s speak out about the monuments across the country that celebrate Confederate war generals and other symbols of division. As petitions are submitted and heated arguments ensue in town halls and city councils everywhere, let’s remember on this Juneteenth what those monuments truly stand for and why they must come down.
The Confederate flag — that whole issue — was a battle to divide the country. It was a group of people that didn’t want United States. They wanted dis-United States. That was treasonous. So to have monuments glorifying this effort to divide the country, particularly knowing the message — what that conveys to a significant segment of the population — there’s just no sense in it.
This is an issue that should have been settled long ago, so it’s one that we need to settle. We ought to be focusing on issues that really matter, like getting healthcare and education. We ought to be focusing on those and not on honoring the past when that past is not something that was honorable.
So I support the efforts to remove the monuments and relocate them to an appropriate place that’s not public property.