National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
Celebration of Freedom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (6/6/14)
Contact: Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
web sites: www.NationalJuneteenth.com
National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement
National Juneteenth Memorial Maafa Reef Laying Ceremony
National Day of the Remembrance of the Maafa in America
National Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
(Washington, DC) - As a part of the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement will take place on Wednesday, the "18th of June", 2014. Also known as the National Day of the Remembrance of the Maafa in America, the theme for the annual day, "A Time to Heal, A Time to Pray", focusing on the need for healing from the scars of America's dark legacy of enslavement.
The National Juneteenth Memorial Maafa Reef Laying Ceremonywill take place on Thursday, June 18, 2014, at Lincoln Park Emancipation Memorial. The memorial is located across the street from Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, Rev., Dr. Diane Dixon-Proctor, 1301 N. Carolina Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC, beginning at 5:00pm. President Obama has been invited to
The following day, on the "19th of June", Juneteenth Independence Day, the National
Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast will take place at the National Press Club, beginning at 8:30am.
"As the descendents of Americans of African descent, our ancestors were brought to America in
chains. This should never be forgotten," states Rev. Dr. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder &
Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and the
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), sponsors of the annual
WASHINGTON JUNTEENTH National Holiday Observance. "Millions lost their lives during the
middle passage, not to mention the thousands killed from lynching and murders before and afte
the civil war. One ponders as to why so little attention has been given to our own
History reveals that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners. However, not all of the founding fathers were slave owners. John Adams, the second president of the United States, did not own any slaves.
The US Capitol and the White House were built through the uncompensated labor of the ancestors of Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Dr. Myers urges him to recognize the Americans of African descent who built the White House while hosting a Juneteenth celebration this year.
"In response, we have embraced the term 'Maafa', a Kiswahili term meaning 'disaster' or 'terrible occurrence', to tell our own story about our enslavement and the sustained attempt to dehumanize us," continues Dr. Myers.
Beginning in the year 2000, during the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, the "18th of June" has now been set aside as the date for the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, also known as the National Day of the Remembrance of the Maafa in America.
The day was established in recognition of former Congressman Tony Hall's efforts to pass a congressional apology for slavery. Dr. Myers, who worked closely with Congressman Hall, learned first hand that America's slave legacy was still a very contemptuous
"Introduced twice by Congressman Hall, the last time on Juneteenth Independence Day, the '19th of June', 2000, we just recently, in July of 2008, received an apology for slavery by congress." states Dr. Myers. "This again demonstrates the need for America to be healed from the legacy of enslavement."
In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation for an Apology For Slavery and Jim Crow sponsored by Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN). Similar apology for slavery legislation that was passed in the U.S. Senate sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in 2009, but failed in the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Myers hopes that legislation will be passed, with both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate concurring in the future.
In January of 2008, New Jersey passed apology for slavery legislation. In 2007, four sates passed similar legislation, including Virginia, Alabama, Maryland and North Carolina. 42 states, most recently Rhode Island, officially recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance. Dr. Myers, who was appointed National Advisory Chairman of America's Black Holocaust Museum by the museum's founder, the late Dr. James Cameron, a lynching survivor, was encouraged by the Senate apology for lynching during the week of Juneteenth in 2005.
"Dr. Cameron taught me the importance of forgiveness, patience and reconciliation by his remarkable life," states Dr. Myers. "It lead to a Senate apology for lynching. Congress continues to demonstrate sensitivity to issues surrounding the legacy of enslavement in America and we pray they will continue to do so."
As the leader of the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" in America, Dr. Myers knows that more can be done to encourage reconciliation and healing during the observance of Juneteenth during any other time of the year. Calling for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Holiday Observance, like Flag Day or Patriot Day, Dr. Myers continues to invite President Barack Obama, America's first African American president, to support the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance and the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement.
Despite President Obama's current lack of support, and the recent refusal of the U.S. Postal Service to issue a postage stamp to commemorate Juneteenth, after over eleven years of a petition drive sending thousands of signatures to the White House and the USPS, Dr. Myers hopes that new efforts will promote even a greater recognition of the need for reconciliation and healing from the legacy of enslavement.
"We now observe the World Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement with a prayer service at the historic '1st African Landing Marker' at the Fort Monroe National Monument, on the '20th of August', during 1st African Landing Day in Hampton, VA," states Dr. Myers. "This commemorates the date the first slave ship, the White Lion, landed in Virginia at Old Point Comfort, today's Fort Monroe, from the shores of West Africa. This occurred on the '20th of August', 1619, with the arrival of twenty Angolans, America's first Middle Passage."
"Please join us in prayer and make the '18th of June' a monumental day of remembrance and healing of our Maafa in America," states Dr. Myers. "We must continue to seek God in prayer for the healing of the nation from the legacy of enslavement."
For information on the National Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast, the National Juneteenth Memorial Maafa Reef Laying Ceremony, the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance and the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, contact Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D. at 662-392-2016, 662-247-1471, or e-mail: JuneteenthDOC@yahoo.com or web sites: njclc.com, NationalJuneteenth.com and Juneteenth.us.
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