Join us to commemorate the 181st Anniversary of the Nat Turner Rebellion. When: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 6:30 P.M. …Read the Rest
PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATION FOR PROGRESS P. O. BOX 22505 NEWARK, NJ 07101-2505 (973) 801-0001 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: …Read the Rest
“It’s popular in the South and West, but it’s still only growing in the Northeast,” said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the community activist group People’s Organization for Progress and the event’s keynote speaker. “This is a special day because it focuses specifically on slavery and emancipation. You really can’t understand current conditions in America unless you understand those two things.”
Hamm added this year’s celebrations were particularly momentous because the U.S. Senate issued an apology for slavery last week.
President Barack Obama also noted Juneteenth in a press release.
“June 19, or Juneteenth, is now observed in 31 states,” Obama said. “Nearly a century and a half later, the descendants of slaves and slave owners can commemorate the day together and celebrate the rights and freedoms we all share in this great nation that we all love.”
The New Jersey Assembly Committee on Appropriations approved a resolution Jan. 3 to express an apology for the state’s role in slavery.
Payne said slaves, unlike other new arrivals to America, “weren’t welcomed by the Statue of Liberty.” He showed pictures depicting suffering slaves jammed into ship holds.
“Like it or not, New Jersey had a role in all of this,” Payne said. “There is much for the state to atone for.”
The measure was backed by Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization For Progress, a Newark group that advocates against poverty and racism.
“It is the right thing to do,” Hamm said. “It is always the right thing to do to recognize when a wrong has been done and then take steps to correct that injustice.”