Juneteenth: The Black Freedom Struggle Continues

We honor the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth—the celebration of the end of chattel slavery in the U.S.—by envisioning a world more free than the one in which we currently live. We remember our elders in the struggle for Black freedom: Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and all of the ancestors who not only believed in — but with their very lives made real — a world we had not yet seen.

We know that what is possible must first be imagined, and that abolition of oppressive systems has always required a radical imagination. The abolition of slavery was at first a daring vision to bring forth more humanity into the world. Abolitionists drew from deep wells of creativity and love to imagine a society where Black people were valued, and where nobody and no body was disposable. With that vision in place, they worked both to dismantle the structures designed to deny Black people their freedom, as well as create the conditions in which they could thrive. It is in this tradition of dreams manifested that we commit to the continuous journey towards a reconfigured world.

The Black freedom movement is central and connected to all global struggles against oppression. Any system that views and pathologizes people as “other” or as less than —  from colonialism and militarism to heteropatriarchy and transphobia — is antithetical to our freedom dreams. Today on Turtle Island, in this moment of uprisings against state-sanctioned anti-Black violence where the novel coronavirus has exacerbated the racist harms of our society, we reject all values, all ideologies, and all institutions that uphold an immoral and unjust hierarchy of human life. On this Juneteenth, and always, we at the Center for Constitutional Rights demand that this country take responsibility and pay reparations to Black Americans for the lingering, systemic harms of enslavement. And understanding the prison-industrial complex as one of those harms as well as the current manifestation of anti-Blackness globally, we recommit to its abolition. 

This is the moment for radical imagination. Another world is possible. Join us in building it!

Last modified 

June 13, 2020