Pelosi Statement on the 155th Juneteenth Celebration

June 19, 2020
Press Release

San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement today in recognition of the 155th celebration of Juneteenth, which marks June 19, 1865 when federal officials arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation:

“For 155 years, Juneteenth has stood as a beautiful and proud celebration of freedom for African Americans.  Sadly, this Juneteenth comes during a moment of extraordinary national anguish, as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. 

“This Juneteenth must be a day of reflection that moves our nation to finally confront and combat its long and shameful history of systemic racial injustice targeted at communities of color.  That is why, this week, I have ordered the removal of portraits of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol and, earlier this month, renewed my call for the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers and officials displayed in this hallowed space.  The halls of Congress are the heart of our democracy and should reflect our highest ideals, not memorialize men who embody racism, bigotry and hatred.

“At the same time, House Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, next week will pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling and hold law enforcement accountable.  As we mark this important day, we must insist on real, meaningful action to achieve justice and save lives.”