The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is encouraged by the good news that Juneteenth is now a federally-recognized holiday, signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Juneteenth National Independence Day, a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, will become the 12th legal public holiday, the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

June 19, 1865 marks the day when news of the emancipation of those held in slavery reached people in the deepest part of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas, nearly two years after the Civil War. That day confirmed freedom for the last remaining enslaved people in the deepest parts of the South.

I urge all of us to observe and celebrate Juneteenth. It is a day to not only reflect on the injustices against African Americans, but to celebrate the significant role that African Americans have played in the United States. I include all of our colleagues in the DA’s Office of African descent. Our brothers and sisters have enriched our society through their steadfast commitment to promote and oftentimes fight for unity, equality and justice.

Like many, we are always reimagining how we can reduce and eliminate the racial inequities and racial disparities that occur in the criminal justice system. We in the ACDAO have been very mindful and purposeful in giving focus on creating programs that reduce these racial inequities and inequalities. We recently have begun to implement initiatives through the newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division.

Through our Collaborative Courts and the work of the Victim-Witness Advocates as well as the Alameda County Family Justice Center, we are working to support, and empower victims of crime, many of whom are African American. We shall take the time on June 19 to understand the deep historical and emotional significance of this now national holiday.

Posted on Jun 17, 2021