Juneteenth: Beyond the holidays | cbs19.tv
Local leaders say the real work to move forward as a country has only just begun.
LONGVIEW, Texas – A year ago, hundreds of East Texans gathered at the Gregg County Courthouse to pray for justice and peace. A year later, Juneteenth became a public holiday recognized by the federal government.
Tom McDaniels, senior pastor at LifeBridge Christian Center, was in the yard that day and has been campaigning for change ever since. One of these changes being that Juneteenth becomes a federal holiday.
He said, “We should celebrate the freedom of everyone, especially our brothers and sisters. We all live here together. We live in a world and therefore, if we want to be free, we should want the whole world to be free.
He said Juneteenth on the day commemorated as the true end of slavery in the United States is a step in the right direction.
Pastor Larry Washington of Post Oak Baptist agreed and added that reconciliation is a three-step process.
He said: “The first step was to go back and sign documents saying ‘we have abolished slavery and African Americans are free’.
It was the emancipation proclamation.
“The second step is to go back and nationalize it, make sure everyone knows that this is something that has happened and actually say that people are free.”
This stage is also known as Juneteenth. He said the third step after recognizing everyone as free is to treat everyone as free.
“To move forward, we have to make sure that if we say ‘justice for all’, it is actually for all. We need to be representative so that whenever we have something going on we don’t sweep it under the rug and just throw the box out on the road, hoping it gets better. We have to solve the problems.
He said he recognizes that closing the gap and moving forward as a nation will take a lot of work beyond June 17, but he will always celebrate that victory in the meantime.
The Juneteenth celebrations have already started and will continue throughout the weekend. Check out the full list of CBS19 here.