Beatty Weekly Wrap Up | Witnessing History
I had the honor of being on hand to witness history twice on the same day last week. Not only did I have the opportunity to join House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members for the June 17th engrossment of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, S. 475, a piece of legislation to establish a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, but I was also invited to the White House that same day to watch President Biden sign the bill into law. Additional photos from the day’s events can be accessed on Flickr.
Juneteenth was established on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union soldiers—led by General Gordon Granger—arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War was over and all previously enslaved people were free. In advance of the U.S. House of Representatives' historic vote five days ago, I went to the House floor, exclaiming, “You can’t change the future if you can’t acknowledge the past.” An archived recording of my full speech can be viewed on YouTube.
You’ll also be interested to know that last week the House passed my bipartisan bill honoring the Harlem Hellfighters and I joined forces with a bipartisan, bicameral group of colleagues to introduce legislation to improve housing services for survivors of human trafficking.
As I have said time and time again—including over the weekend on MSNBC—Black history is American history. So, while I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration and a bipartisan congressional coalition reaffirmed that sacred principle on multiple occasions in the past week, I recognize as CBC Chair that the work to create a brighter tomorrow for communities of color is far from over.
Indeed, the mission to build back better for ALL Americans continues.