Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Day in North Carolina, honoring the oldest known commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States.

“As we celebrate Black heritage, history and freedom, it’s critical that we also take this opportunity to both celebrate the progress we’ve made and accept the challenge we still face to achieve true racial equality,” Cooper said. “By addressing the systemic racism that has been in our communities for centuries, we can create a more just and equitable future.”

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the news of freedom, reaching some of the last enslaved men and women in the United States.

Despite over 150 years of progress since the abolition of slavery, Black communities still face economic, institutional and social barriers. Over the past year, communities across the state and nation have continued to grapple with these inequities in order to build a fairer, more just society.

In June 2020, Cooper established the Andrea Harris Social Economic Environmental Health Disparities Task Force to address the longstanding, systemic disparities in communities of color. He also created the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice to acknowledge and eliminate systemic racial bias in criminal justice.

LEARN MORE

♦ Read the proclamation HERE.

♦ Learn more about the Andrea Harris Social Economic Environmental Health Disparities Task Force.

♦ Learn more about the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.

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