Rep. Al Green is leading an effort to make 2022 the first year that would mark the anniversary of the first slave ships arriving in North America 400 years ago.
The Texas Democrat, who introduced a resolution last November, is hoping to renew the push as the country celebrates Juneteenth on Sunday, and the federal holiday on Monday.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom. Slavery Remembrance is a commemoration of slavery itself and it will help us to make sure that we don’t see it sanitized. We want to tell the truth about it,” Mr. Green told The Washington Times.
Unlike Juneteenth, which celebrates the date in 1865 on which the last slaves in the U.S. were emancipated in Texas, the remembrance day would commemorate the lives lost to slavery.
The commemoration would be on Aug. 20, which marks the date when slave ships first reached the shores of English-speaking American colonies in 1619.
Mr. Green said having a day dedicated to the remembrance of slavery would be similar to the ones dedicated to the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
The joint resolution was also introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.
“The horrors of slavery can never be forgotten,” Ms. Warren said. “We must acknowledge the dangers and dehumanization that enslaved people faced, and honor those who led the long fight for abolition and justice.”
The resolution, which was referred to the House Government Reform and Oversight committee, would also aim to posthumously recognize lawmakers who served during and after Reconstruction, including Benjamin S. Turner and Joseph Rainey.
It would also call on the president to urge Americans to celebrate the day with appropriate activities and ceremonies.
The resolution has 136 Democratic co-sponsors, including Reps. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
• Mica Soellner can be reached at email@example.com.
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