By Mitch Landrieu

On this Juneteenth, we commemorate the emancipation of Black people from slavery in this country, over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

This year, it is even more important we honor the lives of the nearly 4 million Black Americans who were enslaved at the time of the Civil War and endured generations of inhumane treatment.

We cannot run away from our past.

Our American aspiration has been to form “a more perfect union,” based on a simple but profound idea that we all come to the table of democracy as equals and have the right to share its greatest gift of freedom. But from our nation’s founding, we have been imperfect.

Slavery is one of this nation’s original sins. And centuries-old wounds remain raw because they were never permitted to heal correctly in the first place.

We must reckon with our history, acknowledge our wrongs, and dismantle systems that have divided us for so long to build a shared future. We must all commit ourselves to fight racism in all of its forms.

Together, we must move towards official government actions to acknowledge these past wounds. That’s why E Pluribus Unum strongly supports Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s legislation calling for the establishment of the first United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT).

Examining the effects of slavery, institutional racism, and discrimination against Black Americans is an important step and will help the country better understand how our shared history influences systems, laws and policies in every facet of our lives today.

It’s long overdue. We may not all be at fault for what happened in our past, but we all have a responsibility to help our nation heal and for the steps that we take moving forward.

Mitch Landrieu

Founder and President