Juneteenth: Honoring the Past by Building a Racially Just Future

Juneteenth is a day for remembrance and reflection on the struggle for freedom that Black Americans have pursued for more than 400 years. While this anniversary marks the formal adoption of the end of slavery, it is vital for all of us to understand that the institution itself merely morphed and evolved into a more politically palatable form that lived on in Jim Crow laws and continues today through our nation’s system of incarceration. 

Black Americans continue to be disproportionately harmed by a discriminatory enforcement of unjust laws, including the prohibitions exercised under the War on Drugs, and critical work remains to undo the damaging systems that uphold white supremacy and prevent far too many of our neighbors and loved ones from pursuing lives full of health, freedom, and joy.

While Juneteenth is an important milestone on the pathway towards liberty and justice for all, current protests against racism demonstrate how far we still have to go. Our reflection on this day should serve as a reminder that we all must redouble our efforts to truly secure the rights and freedoms afforded to every individual in our nation so that we ultimately secure the promise of America envisioned by our forebears.

At New Jersey Policy Perspective, the values of equity, justice, and prosperity for all lie at the heart of our work and mission. We sincerely appreciate the privilege of pursuing this work in collaboration with you and know, with absolute certainty, that our commitment to racial and economic equity in the Garden State will yield a better society where the barriers to health and happiness are fully dismantled for all.

Happy Juneteenth.