Celebration of Juneteenth aka Jubilee Day

This June 19th 2021, the SERJ Committee of OPEIU Local 29 would like to recognize the celebration of Juneteenth (aka Jubilee Day). Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 and celebrates the end of the enslavement of Africans and African- Americans. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed the enslavement of human beings in the country January 1, 1863, it would take almost another two and a half years, and an estimated 1,000,000 lives lost, before all states recognized the Proclamation.

The free labor of enslaved African people is responsible for building the United States into one of the biggest economic powers in the world. It is estimated that, in 1860, the “slave property” (enslaved human beings) across the American South was worth three times the value of all of the railroads and factories in the American North. The amount of wealth that was literally stolen from the people performing the labor over the course of 246 years from 1619, when the first enslaved Africans arrived in the Virginia colony, through 1865, when the Civil War ended, is staggering.

It is important to remember, however, that while the Emancipation Proclamation and the conclusion of the Civil War ended the enslavement of human beings as it was known at the time, slavery was, and still is, legal in the United States of America due to the 13 th Amendment, which states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime…shall exist within the United States.” This has allowed corporations, such as Victoria’s Secret, AT&T, Starbucks, and many more, as well as governments, such is the case as it pertains to California prisoners that work as firefighters during the deadly wildfire season throughout all of the state, to exploit the many of the incarcerated citizens of the United States for slave wage labor.

Our fight is not done until all people are free from the horrors of enslavement; whether it be done in name, or in spirit. The SERJ Committee and OPEIU Local 29 are committed to the fight for all.

In solidarity.
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