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June 19, 2023 – Juneteenth Remarks of Chief Justice Recktenwald

Posted on Jun 19, 2023 in News & Reports, Press Releases
HONOLULU — Today’s celebration of Juneteenth recognizes a watershed moment in our nation’s history. On June 19, 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War reached Galveston, Texas, and a quarter of a million Black Americans were freed in that state alone.  Juneteenth both commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and celebrates the contributions of Black Americans, upon whose labor the country as we know it was built, to our nation’s history.  
While Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the past, it is also an opportunity to recommit to a more just and equal future.  This begins with considering the ways in which the promises embodied in the Emancipation Proclamation – particularly, the promise for those who were enslaved to be “thenceforward, and forever free” – have not been met. 
As we consider the significance of Juneteenth, we must all recognize that there remains much work to be done and reaffirm our shared commitment to doing that work.  As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said when he spoke in Honolulu in 1959: “We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go.”

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