US 'Grandmother of Juneteenth': 'Change people's minds'

17:45  20 june  2021
17:45  20 june  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Opal Lee, an educator and activist who has been dubbed the "Grandmother of Juneteenth," led a crowd of hundreds through Fort Worth, Texas in celebration of the new federal holiday.

Joe Biden et al. that are cutting a wedding cake: Opal Lee with President Biden © Getty Images Opal Lee with President Biden

Lee, 94, walked two-and-a-half miles through Fort Worth while crowds of people cheered her on, The Dallas Morning News reports. She was standing next to President Biden when he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on Thursday, making the day a new national holiday.

"Make yourself a committee of one," Lee said to the gathered crowd. "Change people's minds. People can be taught. They can be taught to hate; they can be taught to love."

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Lee told the the throngs of people that she had no plans of sitting idle.

"We're going to tackle housing. We're going to tackle joblessness. We're going to tackle schools not putting the right things in the books. We're going to tackle health care. And we're going to tackle climate change. You hope I live that long," she said.

Lee has long pushed for Juneteenth to be recognized as a national holiday. In 2016, she walked 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington D.C. to bring attention to the holiday, often referred to as Black Independence Day. Juneteenth marks the day freedom was declared for slaves in Texas, the last state in the Confederacy to have institutional slavery.

The Dallas Morning News notes that many of those in attendance expressed concern over Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signing a new law that barred the teaching of critical race theory, an academic concept that argues racism has largely impacted legal systems and government policies in the U.S.

"We have to learn about our history," Derric Jones, marcher at the event told the Morning News. "Learning what enslaved people went through is important for all of us, for all races. It's not a black or white thing."

Halle Berry, Lupita Nyong'o & More Celebs Celebrate Juneteenth 2021 .
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden signed a bill making June 19 a federal holiday.This holiday was named for, and is celebrated on, June 19 to commemorate the true ending of slavery in the United States. Earlier this week, days before this year's celebration, the House passed legislation after an unanimous vote and President Joe Biden signed a bill into law recognizing Juneteenth as an official federal holiday.

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This is interesting!