Juneteenth is a day of remembrance and a celebration of the hard-won victory of legal emancipation. As we celebrate Black self-determination and liberation, we rejoice and honor the strength and endurance of the over 250,000 Black people held in bondage in Galveston, Texas for more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
This day is also a reminder of the lasting impact of slavery, systemic racism, and the dangers of white supremacy culture embedded in the fabric of this country.
This day is also a reminder of the lasting impact of slavery, systemic racism, and the dangers of white supremacy culture embedded in the fabric of this country. Just as freedom came late to those enslaved people in Texas, America remains overdue on its promise of full citizenship and equity for Black people.
Across the country, elected officials have introduced hundreds of restrictive voting laws. Most of them are designed to make it harder for Black people to vote. And as Black people have been systemically oppressed and denied full governing power, we have also been blocked from economic power. An enduring legacy of systemic discrimination and racism contributed to towering student loan debt, and deep and persistent gaps in income, employment, wealth, health outcomes, and more. The devastating consequences of this ongoing discrimination and marginalization has severely limited Black economic power.
At Dēmos, we believe in building an economy that works for all of us. We also recognize that our democracy and our economy are one. Despite hard-fought progress, Black people in the U.S. face worse economic conditions and more economic insecurity than white Americans.
As we commemorate the 158th anniversary of the original Juneteenth, we are still fighting for a democracy and economy that includes us all.
As we commemorate the 158th anniversary of the original Juneteenth, we are still fighting for a democracy and economy that includes us all. Accordingly, we affirm the collective call for reparations as a vital step in atonement and redress for the legacy of slavery and systemic racism. From slavery to redlining, public policies—intentional choices—created these stark economic disparities. It cannot be ignored or overlooked and requires intentional policies to repair past harm and eliminate ongoing disparities.
Reparations and policies that support an economic democracy are needed now and going forward. At Dēmos, we advocate for solutions that lead to deconcentrating corporate power and expanding our understanding of public goods, including public banking, education, housing, and other essentials that allow our communities to thrive.
Every inch of progress, from emancipation to voting rights, seemed impossible until grassroots organizing, and advocacy made it inevitable. Our calling is clear.