By Donald Judd and Kaanita Iyer, CNN
(CNN) — Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday that the story of Juneteenth is “the story of our ongoing fight to realize America’s promise – not for some, but for all.”
As part of CNN’s “Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom” concert, Harris – the nation’s first Black vice president – spoke to a crowd gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate the federal holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Harris evoked themes of freedom and justice, and referenced the words of civil rights icon Coretta Scott King, telling the audience, “The fight for civil rights must be fought and won with each generation.”
King “reminds us that our freedoms will not be permanent, unless we, in each generation are vigilant to protect them,” Harris added. “So, let us all stand together as Americans to teach and honor our history, to protect our liberty and to continue the fight for freedom.”
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their emancipation – two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The date has long been a time of remembrance and celebration for the Black community, but it has recently become more widely recognized. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill into law that made Juneteenth a federal holiday – the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.
Along with remarks from Harris, CNN’s broadcast from Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre in Griffith Park featured several performers, including Charlie Wilson, Miguel, Kirk Franklin, Nelly, SWV, Davido and Coi Leray. The event also included a tribute to late music legend Tina Turner by singer and actress Chlöe Bailey.
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CNN’s Lauren Lee and Dan Heching contributed to this reporting.