Warren: 'On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter'

Warren: 'On Juneteenth and every day: Black lives matter'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race MORE (D-Mass.), a 2020 presidential hopeful, said Juneteenth needs to be a reminder of issues facing the African American community today, including violence and inequity, in an op-ed published Wednesday on Medium

"I will never understand the fear, oppression, and pain that confronts many Black Americans every day. We can’t ignore what is happening in this country. Today on Juneteenth, and every day, we can — and must — do better. Black lives matter, Black citizens matter, Black families matter," Warren wrote. 

June 19, or Juneteenth, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States in 1865 and marks the day news of emancipation reached Texas, the nation's most remote slave state.

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Warren said Juneteenth "isn't just about celebration," but rather is a "reminder that 154 years later, Black Americans still feel the weight of government-sponsored racism and discrimination on their shoulders."

"Our country needs big, structural change to confront the tools of oppression Black Americans still face today," Warren said. 

Warren noted the police brutality that has led to the deaths of black Americans across the country, naming Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Mya Hall, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Korryn Gaines and Alton Sterling. 

She also highlighted voter suppression laws designed to "steal votes from people of color" as well as "deliberately denying millions of Black Americans economic opportunities solely because of the color of their skin."

Warren said the U.S. needs "real criminal justice reform" as well as "a Voting Rights Act with real teeth." 

She also highlighted her plans for affordable housing and universal free public college that she said would confront the racial wealth gap. 

On Wednesday, House Democrats also honored Juneteenth by holding a Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing on slavery reparations.