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    Pride and Juneteenth

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    June is Pride Month in which we celebrate our history, culture, and hard-won rights. We honor our elders who fought for those rights, remember the precious lives lost to HIV/AIDS, transphobia, and homophobia, and celebrate our community’s resilience and achievements. It is also a time to call out the places, people, institutions, and governments that continue to threaten our lives and our liberty.

    Pride Month is now joined by a new federal holiday, Juneteenth (June 19th), as of the signing by President Biden of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, federal troops finally arrived in Texas, after a 2-year delay, to enforce the Emancipation Act (1863).  

    Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery and at the same time acknowledges the agonizingly slow process to full emancipation. After the Civil War, slave owners were unwilling to give up slavery and the free labor it provided them. In the Confederate states, Black people continued to be enslaved until union troops arrived to enforce the law. In fact, it wasn’t until 8 months after June 19, on December 6, 1865, that slavery really came to an end with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. 

    Section 1 of the 13th Amendment reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Despite this official abolishment of slavery in the U.S., the post-slavery struggle for civil rights was only just beginning and continues to this day. 

    As we celebrate Pride and Juneteenth, history teaches us that we need to stay strong and vigilant. We need to fight for equity and justice. We need to fight institutional racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia in the courts and at the ballot box. We need to do this together. 

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, a psychologist and LGBTQ+ longevity advocate and policy adviser, oversees the Aging in Community column. She serves on the California Commission on Aging, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California, the California Master Plan on Aging Equity Advisory Committee, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee. She is the Co-Founder of Openhouse, the only San Francisco nonprofit exclusively focused on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ older adults.

    Published on June 24, 2021