155 years ago today, the last slaves in the U.S. were granted freedom. As we celebrate #Juneteenth, it is a reminder of both how far we’ve come and how far we have to go in the fight against racism.
This year, Juneteenth takes on a special meaning as the fight for equality and racial justice gains momentum and a feeling of urgency. We live in a country where the lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd were snuff out by lethal violence. And as we are hearing from students, too often classrooms fail to connect these events to our country’s complex, violent and racist history. Perhaps this is why Juneteenth still isn’t a federal holiday, and its history is often overlooked. But Black history is American history. And as we celebrate Juneteenth together, let’s use this moment to renew our commitment to creating opportunities for all of California’s students to thrive.
– Tony Thurmond