SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The nation is heading into a historic weekend. For the first time ever, Juneteenth will be recognized not by a few, but across cultures. It’s now officially stamped on the calendar as a federal holiday.
“With our President making it a national holiday, that feels different. It feels like we’re not just doing it by ourselves,” Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams told CBS13.READ MORE: 'Putting Their Feet To The Fire': Placerville Group Looks To Recall Nearly Entire City Council
Williams applauds the move by President Biden this week, setting the date in stone. June 19, 1865, marks a time in history when Union soldiers finally made it to Galveston, Texas to tell enslaved people they were free.
“The fact that we are the most oppressed and segregated individuals on the planet and especially in the United States, that needs to be discussed,” said Williams.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is now one of a dozen mayors across the country forming a coalition committed to improving initiatives aimed at dismantling institutional racism. Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity – or MORE – is pushing for racial and economic justice.READ MORE: Tracking Summer Camp Sex Abuse: How To Better Protect Your Kids
“It’s not just about celebrating a new national holiday. It’s about action, action backed by dollars. We are moving in that direction in Sacramento but we’re far from done. We’ve got a long way to go,” said Steinberg.
Mayor Steinberg admits this is just the beginning of a long road to healing the wounds of history.
“You have to start somewhere, so I do applaud that effort,” said Williams.MORE NEWS: Delivery Vehicle Reverses Over Sleeping Man Near Loading Docks In Turlock
Reparations for Black Americans have hardly moved beyond discussion since the end of the Civil War. A Brown University study shows black families earning $75,000 or more a year live in poorer neighborhoods than White Americans marking less than $40,000 a year.