CHICAGO — As our nation celebrates Juneteenth this weekend, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement to commemorate the day, which became a federal holiday last year. The Senator emphasized the importance of policies that help and empower Black families and communities, and encouraged racial justice allies to not only learn and recognize our country’s complex history, but also to push for a more just union for every American.

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“Black communities have long celebrated the importance of Juneteenth – the day that finally marked the end of centuries of unjustifiable enslavement of Black adults and their children,” said Duckworth. “Allies across this nation should remember that today is not only about learning and grappling with the history of our country, it is also a call to action for us all to keep pushing, prodding and dragging our nation until we’re all not just created equal, but treated equally as well.”

Duckworth continued: “For me, this means working hard to address and help resolve some of the everyday issues facing Black American families and all working families. Whether working to stop megacorporations from ripping off hardworking Americans everywhere from their pharmacies to the gas pump, or working to ensure that all Americans, regardless of gender, income, race or zip code, have access to healthcare, including the full range of reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care, I am proud to be an advocate for Black families, friends and neighbors. I wish our nation a happy Juneteenth.”

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Juneteenth celebrates the day enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned of their emancipation, two years after the official abolition of the institution of slavery.

Along with her efforts to save America’s working families money on everyday essentials like gasand insulin, address the infant formula shortage and protect reproductive healthcare for all, Duckworth last week met with local Chicago leaders and advocates to discuss the impacts of gun violence on the city’s neighborhoods of color and legislative action at the federal level to pass commonsense gun safety legislation in the wake of the massacre in Uvalde and the racial hate crime in Buffalo.

Earlier this month, Duckworth joined U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-2) in introducing a Congressional resolution establishing June 3, 2022, as “National Gun Violence Awareness Day” and designating June as “National Gun Violence Awareness Month.” The resolution is partly in honor of Chicagoan Hadiya Pendleton, who just days after performing at President Obama’s inauguration in 2013, she was shot and killed in a park.

Last month, on the 15th anniversary of his death, Duckworth and Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL-01) re-introduced the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act,legislation would prohibit unlicensed firearm ownership and the transfer of firearms without a valid firearms license. Blair Holt was a Chicago Julian High School student who was gunned down protecting his friend when a gunman opened fire while they were riding home from school on a crowded public transit bus.

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