Port of Tacoma signs Juneteenth proclamation

The Port of Tacoma Commission unanimously approved and adopted the following proclamation recognizing Juneteenth at their meeting today:

WHEREAS, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the United States led largely by the Black Lives Matter movement, makes it important for the Port of Tacoma to reaffirm its values; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Tacoma respects and values the rich diversity of its employees, customers, contractors and stakeholders; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Tacoma is committed to a work environment that is inclusive and values diverse thought and expression in pursuit of the organization’s mission and is committed to provide a workplace environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Tacoma acknowledges and deplores the history of systemic racism in the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Port of Tacoma strongly condemns racist acts of oppression in all forms, including institutionalized racism which has targeted Black and brown communities for far too long; and

WHEREAS, the Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 and there was an estimated total 750,00 deaths and over 1,500,000 casualties, the Union Army fought to end slavery and suffered over 850,000 casualties itself, the largest loss by far of American citizens in any war fought; and

WHEREAS, on September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863, setting in motion the end of slavery in the United States; and

WHEREAS, this news reached Texas when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Bay with Union troops. It was on June 19, 1865, that he announced: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”; and

WHEREAS the XIII amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery was passed by Congress on Jan. 31, 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865; and

WHEREAS, celebration of the end of slavery, which became known as Juneteenth, is the oldest known public celebration of the end of slavery in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and celebrates the successes gained through education and greater opportunity; and

WHEREAS, on a larger scale, celebration of Juneteenth reminds each of us of the precious promises of freedom, equality, and opportunity which are at the core of the American Dream;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Port of Tacoma Commission recognizes June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth and urges all citizens to become more aware of the significance of this celebration in African American history and in the heritage of our nation and community.