Mableton Mayor Michael Owens issues statement on Juneteenth

Mayor Michael Owens at a podium

Photo of Mayor Michael Owens from the Mayor and council swearing-in ceremony (Larry Felton Johnson)

Mableton Mayor Michael Owens issued the following statement in observance of Juneteenth:

On this and every Juneteenth, we honor the end of one of the darkest chapters in American history and celebrate the enduring resilience and strength of the Black community. Nearly 160 years ago, on June 19, 1865, the last of the enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, were informed of their freedom, over two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This day, known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, marks a pivotal moment in our nation’s journey toward justice and equality.

As a holiday, Juneteenth is a testament to the perseverance and courage that have defined the Black American experience since our arrival on the shores of the Americas. It serves as a reminder of how much progress has been made in such a short amount of time. Obtaining the right to vote, gaining equal protection under the law, owning land and holding elected offices in every state where we were once considered chattel. However, this day also highlights the continuous struggle against the systemic and institutional challenges that still persist today.

This day holds a great amount of personal significance for me. My great-great-grandmother, Annie Owens, was born a slave and passed away only three years before I was born. My father knew her well and often spoke of her—her resilience, her hope, and her deep love for family. Her passing, a mere 53 years ago, should remind us all that slavery is not an ancient abomination of the distant past, but a recent reality that directly impacts all of our lives today regardless of where you were born, the language you speak, or the color of your skin. The American human experiences tied to slavery and its consequences are still very much felt in all of our communities.

On this Juneteenth, let us celebrate the freedoms won and renew our dedication to achieving true equality for all. Let the events that led up to this holiday inspire us to forge ahead, ensuring that the legacy of resilience, hope and love continues to guide us toward a more just and inclusive future.