The Felician Sisters of North America are dedicated to the recognition of the dignity of all persons. We have stood shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors in protest of racial injustice and we will continue to work toward equity for all of God’s children. We are proud of the actions of the United States government to declare Juneteenth a national holiday and look forward to using this annual celebration as an opportunity to build awareness of and work toward rectifying racial injustices within our country.
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered, Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. The following year, freedmen in Texas celebrated the anniversary, and it has grown into a celebration of freedom across the country.
On June 18, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an official proclamation making Juneteenth (June 19) a national holiday, giving national recognition to the historical and social significance of this event. In this proclamation, he stated, “On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice. And we celebrate the centuries of struggle, courage and hope that have brought us to this time of progress and possibility … Juneteenth not only commemorates the past. It calls us to action today.”
Felician Foundress Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska told us, “Give aid to all, without exception … for everyone is our neighbor.” Love and compassion should not be dependent upon race, ethnicity, or any other factor that might differentiate us. It is humanity that unites us, for we are all children of God, created in his image, and worthy of love.
We will continue to stand with and advocate for those who have been crying out – those experiencing poverty, marginalization, oppression, and inequity – to help restore the human dignity and rights of all God’s people. We are hopeful that this action will continue healing the divisions within our country, and we pray that we will progress toward a more just and inclusive world.