Today is Juneteenth, now finally recognized as an official Maine State Holiday AND an official U.S. Federal Holiday.
On Thursday the Portland Dems celebrated Juneteenth (and Pride!) with an in-person event: thank you to everyone who participated and helped make it happen! Thanks especially to performing artists Viva and JanaeSound. You can catch them at these upcoming events:
- Juneteenth! – TONIGHT at 8pm streaming online (Virtual showcase of local Black artists, curated by JanaeSound)
- Viva performing live at Aura – Friday, July 30 at 9pm (tickets and information here)
Support the Abyssinian Restoration Project
Here in Portland, we have one of the oldest historic African American meeting halls in the country. Since 1828 the Abyssinian Meeting Hall has been a fixture of Portland’s Black community life and the struggle for emancipation and liberation, and is re-opening soon amid ongoing tremendous restoration efforts. We were honored to hear from Mr. Leonard Cummings at our recent celebration, and want to encourage the Portland Democratic community to support this important work. All donations to PDCC contributed online through ActBlue between 6/17 – 6/24 will be sent to the Abyssinian Restoration Project. Contribute online HERE.
Juneteenth: What they’re saying
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland)
â€œThrough this holiday, we can teach about and discuss Maineâ€™s history with slavery and its lasting effects on our culture and communities. We can uncover this history that has been forgotten. And finally, we can honor our past as we also move forward.â€
Gov. Janet Mills
â€œWhile we have made progress in the long march to create a more perfect union since that fateful day, progress is by no means inevitable. By establishing Juneteenth as a State of Maine holiday, may we renew our commitment to fighting for a state and nation where equality, freedom, and justice for all is more than an ideal, but a reality.â€
President Joe Biden
“The truth is, itâ€™s not â€” simply not enough just to commemorate Juneteenth. After all, the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didnâ€™t mark the end of Americaâ€™s work to deliver on the promise of equality; it only marked the beginning. To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth, we have to continue toward that promise because weâ€™ve not gotten there yet.”
Vice President Kamala Harris
“Let us also remember that day was not the end of slavery in America. The truth is it would be six more months before the 13th amendment was ratified, before enslaved people in the south in the north were free. As we commemorate the history of Juneteenth, as we did just weeks ago with the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we must learn from our history and we must teach our children our history, because it is part of our history as a nation. It is part of American history.”
The Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland is very important to Maine’s Black History and the history of the Abolitionist Movement. Pictured here undergoing restoration on its front side. Photo credit: abyme.org