Laverne Cox shares powerful message of Black freedom in stirring Juneteenth address
Laverne Cox has shared a powerful message about the need for Black people to take their freedom in a video to mark Juneteenth 2020.
Juneteenth is observed each year on June 19 to mark the end of slavery in the United States.
It commemorates the day in 1865 when troops, led by General Gordon Granger, marched into Galveston, Texas and told them that they had lost the American Civil War and that all slaves must be freed.
The day has even greater significance this year as Black people rise up against centuries of systemic racist, following the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and trans man Tony McDade at the hands of police officers.
Laverne Cox urges Black people to take their freedom in a powerful Juneteenth video message.
In a video message shared on Twitter, trans actress Laverne Cox spoke of the need for Black people to take their freedom and quoted African-American writer James Baldwin.
“‘Freedom is not something that anybody can be given,'” Cox quoted. “‘Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.'”
I’m thinking about what it means to take freedom in a country that technically freed slaves, but at every turn has tried to revoke those freedoms from Black people in this country.
“That is a quote from the legendary James Baldwin, and on this Juneteenth 2020, I’m thinking about freedom,” Cox said.
— The Most (@Most) June 19, 2020
“I’m thinking about what it means to take freedom in a country that technically freed slaves, but at every turn has tried to revoke those freedoms from Black people in this country.”
She added: “It is time for us to fully take that freedom. And I feel like we could be on the precipice of that. We could be. But what happens next is crucial.”
Protests across the world have drawn attention to the violence and oppression faced by Black people.
Cox’s powerful message comes just weeks after the brutal killing of Black man George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin.
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The death prompted protests across the world after video footage appeared online showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
The LGBT+ community was shocked when Black trans man Tony McDade died after being shot by Florida police in late May.
The identity of the police officer who shot McDade has still not been released by the police force weeks after his death.