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College Park Recognizes Juneteenth National Freedom Day

Recently, I’ve asked the City Council to adopt a resolution in support of the Junetheenth celebration.

At this evening’s City Council meeting, the Mayor and Council made a proclamation expressing support for the celebration of Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Because of the summer schedule, the Mayor and Council didn’t have Council meetings for the past 3 weeks, so the proclamation was made retroactively.

The proclamation reads the following.

WHEREAS, approximately eleven and a half million African-Americans survived the “Middle Passage,” a month-long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean stacked in the bottom of slave ships and were subjected to more than 200 years of slavery upon arrival in the United States; and

WHEREAS, more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order Number 3, on June 19, 1865, declaring that, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, all enslaved people were free with “absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and those enslaved;” and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth, or June 19th, is celebrated each year as the date when the last enslaved people in the United States were freed, and commemorates the spontaneous celebration that erupted among African-Americans upon learning of their freedom; and

WHEREAS, after more than 150 years of its annual celebration, Juneteenth has been officially recognized by the President and the Congress of the United States as Juneteenth Independence Day; and

WHEREAS, Americans of all colors, creeds, cultures, religions, and countries of origin share a common love of and respect for freedom, as well as a determination to protect their right to freedom through democratic institutions, by which the tenets of freedom are guaranteed and protected. Juneteenth Independence Day, coupled with Independence Day on the fourth of July, completes the “cycle of freedom” for America’s Independence Day observances; and

WHEREAS, the Prince George’s County Council has expressed support yearly for the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of Maryland enacted legislation during the 2014 Legislative Session requiring the Governor annually to proclaim June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth National Freedom Day recalls how former slaves celebrated the abolishment of slavery with excitement and great joy, and serves as a reminder to all Americans of the status and importance of Americans of African descent.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Patrick L. Wojahn, Mayor of the City of College Park, on behalf of the City Council, hereby proclaim, and the City does hereby recognize, Friday, June 19, 2020, as JUNETEENTH to acknowledge the historical significance of the day, and to recommit the City to working toward the dismantling of institutionalized racism. SO PROCLAIMED THIS 7th DAY OF July , 2020.

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