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Biden says rooting out systemic racism is ‘moral obligation of our time’

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Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) called the rooting out of systemic racism in the U.S. “the moral obligation of our time,” in a statement commemorating Juneteenth on Friday. 

“Juneteenth reminds us of how vulnerable our nation is to being poisoned by systems and acts of inhumanity—but it’s also a reminder of our ability to change,” Biden tweeted. “Together, we can lay the roots of real and lasting justice, and become the extraordinary nation that was promised to all.” 

Biden also marked the day, which honors the ending of slavery in the U.S., by penning an op-ed on Essence.com.

“Juneteenth is a day of profound weight and power—a holiday whose very existence tells us so much about the soul of America,” Biden wrote. “It reminds us of just how vulnerable our nation is to being poisoned by systems and acts of inhumanity.” 

The former vice president referenced the killings of unarmed black Americans including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

“Their deaths call us to come face to face not only with overt acts of violence, but with subtler realities that strike at the dignity of Black Americans every day,” Biden wrote. 

Juneteenth is recognized by all but four states. It commemorates the day in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves in the state were free. Texas was the last state to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation, signed after the Civil War. 

Politicians across the country, including President Trump, marked the holiday on Friday. 

“Today, we join America in honoring Juneteenth, the day reserved for recognizing the abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said in a statement. “While even today our nation continues to work towards healing from this legacy of the past, we look ahead with optimism that there is far more that unites us in America than divides us.”

Tags Abolitionism Donald Trump election 2020 Emancipation Proclamation Joe Biden Juneteenth Slavery in the United States
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