NATIONAL JUNETEENTH OBSERVANCE FOUNDATION (NJOF)
NATIONAL JUNETEENTH CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (NJCLC)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF JUNETEENTH JAZZ PRESENTERS (NAJJP)
NATIONAL JUNETEENTH HOLIDAY CAMPAIGN
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
P.O. Box 269 Belzoni, Mississippi 39038
662-392-2016 662-247-4767 Fax
May 19, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
1. Issue a Presidential Juneteenth Proclamtion during your last year in office
2. Host a Juneteenth Celebration
at the White House during your last year in office
3. Work with the U.S. Congress
to establsih Juneteenth
as a National Day of Observance during your last year in office
Dear President Obama:
marks the last year of your historic legacy as the first African American U.S. President
. It is also the last year that Juneteenth
can be acknowledged and celebrated at the White House
Since becoming President, we have been rebuffed in our efforts to contact you. You have yet to personally respond to any of our invitations to participate in the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance
or host any Juneteenth
activities at the White House
As you know, Juneteenth
, or the "19th of June"
, recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom in the last state in rebellion to allow enslavement, following the end of the Civil War
. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation
was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3
by General Granger, our ancestors, released from the tyranny of enslavement, celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American holiday observance.
is now recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states
. In 2003, the District of Columbia
passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth
as a district holiday observance.
Since 1997, the U.S. Congress
has unanimously passed legislation recognizing Juneteenth
for several years. For example, in 2011, Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) sponsored H.R. 323
and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) sponsored of S.R. 211
, "Observing the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day"
In 2014 & 2015, the U.S. Senate
has unanimously passed legislation, S.R. 474
and S.R. 201
, recognizing the "19th of June"
as Juneteenth Independence Day
We continue to urge you to acknowledge the accomplishments of Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement at the 16th Annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance
. As was the case with the U.S. Capitol
, the White House
was built by enslaved Americans of African descent. Our ancestors have made many significant contributions to the building of the infrastructure of America during enslavement that have yet to be acknowledged.
The leadership of our "Modern Juneteenth Movement"
worked closely with former Congressman J. C. Watts (R-OK)
in 1996 & 1997
to urge the U.S. Congress
to acknowledge the contributions of our ancestors in building two of the most important structures in the history of our democracy. Their building of the U.S. Capitol
was finally recognized in 2009 by the U.S. Congress
during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol
. However, the leaders of our grass roots movement, who initiated the recognition of our ancestors, were not even invited to attend the ceremony.
We request that you issue a Presidential Proclamation
to establish Juneteenth Independence Day
as a National Day of Observance
in America, similar to Flag Day
or Patriot Day
. Your proclamation will support legislation in the U.S. Congress
concerning gaining greater recognition of Juneteenth
As a state senator and U.S. Senator
from Illinois, we thank you for supporting legislation for the official recognition of Juneteenth
by the Governor and state legislature of Illinois in 2003. We also appreciated your sponsorship of legislation to recognize Juneteenth
in the U.S. Senate
in 2006. It was a great honor to personally receive special recognition from you as the only African American member of the U.S. Senate
and Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), both from my home state of Illinois, with other members of congress, for advocating for the official recognition of Juneteenth
at the U.S. Capitol
We also continue to urge the U.S. Senate
, followed by the U.S. House of Representatives
, to pass legislation to make Juneteenth Independence Day
a National Day of Observance
, to be completed by your signature as President of the United States
America needs healing from the scars of enslavement. The annual observance of Juneteenth
in America affords the country a tremendous opportunity to constructively reflect on our legacy of enslavement and move forward as a unified nation. As the leader of our country, your public participation in Juneteenth
will be instrumental in bringing all Americans together in a spirit of unity and reconciliation.
We hope that you will join us in the celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
Founder & Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)