SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement in honor of Juneteenth after attending a rally organized at Judkins Park in Seattle’s Central District to discuss police reform and accountability:

“On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free – two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, and we commemorate this end of slavery 155 years later. However, this day comes during a moment of profound sadness as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. The fight for justice and equality is still ongoing and systemic change is long overdue.

“Juneteenth marks one of the most important moments in our country's history with the end of slavery and symbolizes the beginning of freedom for so many Black Americans. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to fight hate and racism and I will not stop until every American has equal opportunities to succeed.