A message from Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley:
Today is Juneteenth. This day, June 19, is the annual observation of the end of slavery in the United States in 1865. It is called the second Independence Day in America and is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth marks the day on which news of emancipation of those held in slavery reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas, nearly two years after the Civil War. That day confirmed freedom for the last remaining slaves in the deepest parts of the South.
The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks have shined a devastating light on the systemic inequitable treatment of African Americans in our country. For far too many, this is the reality of their lives. But, that reality can no longer be experiences separate from all of us. There is a critical need for structural and systemic improvements within the American justice system. Our office, and each of us with the privilege of working here, share the responsibility of working to eradicate racism, inequities and inequalities against African Americans. We have the duty to ensure that equal protection for all is guaranteed in each interaction with the system.
Although Juneteenth is not a State holiday, it is a recognized holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia. 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 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 fight for unity, equality and justice.
To that end, I invite any of our employees who would like to participate in the walk around the Lake and other events celebrating Juneteenth, to do so.
We in the ACDAO have been very mindful and purposeful in giving focus on creating programs that reduce racial inequities and inequalities. 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.
Today, we shall take the time to understand the deep historical and emotional significance of Juneteenth.