FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2020
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN UPPER DARBY, MAYOR KEFFER RAISES JUNETEENTH FLAG OVER THE TOWNSHIP BUILDING & ISSUES A FORMAL PROCLAMATION
Upper Darby, PA – Today, Mayor Barbarann Keffer ordered the raising of the official Juneteenth flag to fly over the Upper Darby Township building as a show of respect and appreciation for this important day in our history. In addition to raising the flag for the first time in the Township, at tonight’s Township Council meeting, the Mayor issued a formal proclamation wherein Upper Darby will recognize June 19th as Juneteenth National Freedom Day.
“Now more than ever and especially in a community as diverse as ours, it is critically important that we acknowledge and reckon with America’s sin of slavery,” said Upper Darby Mayor, Barbarann Keffer. “The recognition of Juneteenth and the flying of the flag are small but important steps in the ongoing process of atonement and the continuing fight to dismantle institutional racism and systemic inequities as we struggle to form an ever more perfect union together. My administration is committed to ensuring that these symbolic measures not only enshrine and commemorate the day but also reflect our resolve to address the continued disenfranchisement of our Black residents.”
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to ensure that slaves were freed. The troops arrived two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln. Juneteenth is currently recognized as a state holiday or day of observance in 47 states and the District of Columbia. More details about the history of Juneteenth can be found in the Mayor’s proclamation which is attached to this release.
“Juneteenth is a day of tremendous significance for African Americans but also for our entire nation, and we are proud to honor this day together as a Township,” continued Keffer. “It is long past time that we not only build and strengthen our relationships with our most historically marginalized communities but that we also engage them meaningfully in leadership roles as we correct our historic errors and build our more equitable shared future together.”
In the spirit of expanding how we honor Juneteenth now and going forward, Keffer announced that on the Township website, upperdarby.org, there is a Google form entitled: Juneteenth Business Recognition, where we are soliciting information from black-owned businesses in the Township so they can be highlighted. All are encouraged to complete the form.
Mayor Keffer added, “These initial actions move us toward repairing the immense damage inflicted on Black Americans throughout our country’s history. It is our sincere hope that we continue this important work and that everyone will join us in celebrating Juneteenth, and further affirming that Black Lives Matter in Upper Darby and around the world.”
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