Juneteenth—Celebrating progress & reaffirming our commitment to equity

19 Jun, 24

In 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, liberating enslaved African Americans. However, this news wasn’t widely shared. The last enslaved people didn’t receive the news until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865—two and half years after the proclamation was signed. This day has come to be known as Juneteenth, marking a turning point in our nation’s history toward true liberation for all people. 

Yearly community events celebrate the spirit of resilience and justice of Juneteenth, while honoring the history and educating younger generations about the struggle for true freedom. Over the years, Juneteenth has evolved, and in 1980, Texas became the first state to make it an official holiday. President Biden signed a bill in 2021 making Juneteenth a federal holiday, solidifying its place in American history. Click here to see what events are happening near you. 

Juneteenth serves as a powerful reminder that while we have made significant progress, we must still address the historic and systemic inequities that exist today. At Precinct 4 and throughout Harris County, we are committed to championing equitable policies and initiatives to advance opportunity and justice for all people. Here are a few examples of our work. 

Advocacy for Voting Rights 

A cornerstone of our democracy is the right to vote—a right that has been hard-won and must be fiercely protected. We are working closely with the County Clerk's Election Division to continue investing in the resilience and integrity of our elections systems. Additionally, we are partnering closely with all levels of government and organizations, such as, the League of Women Voters, AliefVotes, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials to engage voters and protect their rights. 

Harris County has been a model for advancing and advocating for voting rights even as state leaders resist and reverse our progress. We will continue to fight to protect the rights that so many died for. 

Addressing Black Maternal Health Disparities 

Texas and Harris County have some of the highest rates of Black maternal mortality in the nation. Our ACCESS Harris County program is designed with strategic objectives to improve Black maternal health and reduce health disparities for Black mothers and infants by ensuring they have access to comprehensive medical care and wraparound services during pregnancy and postpartum. 

Supporting Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses 

Our efforts to close the disparity in county contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) have shown remarkable progress. Since the launch of the M/WBE Program in January 2021, the share of contract dollars allocated to Black-owned businesses has increased by 900%. This is because of our partnership with the Harris County Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity (DEEO). With the DEEO, we are hosting workshops to connect M/WBEs with tools to thrive as Harris County vendors. Below are the two upcoming workshops: 

  • Tuesday, August 20, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Pct. 4 Hockley Community Center 
  • There’s a workshop coming soon to the Pct. 4 Tracy Gee Community Center 

Eviction Legal Aid Program 

Additionally, recognizing the destabilizing impact of evictions on communities of color—especially Black Americans—we have invested in the Eviction Legal Aid Program to provide essential legal assistance and resources to those at risk of losing their homes. By preventing displacements, the program helps ensure families maintain stable, secure living conditions. 

Today, let us commemorate Juneteenth by celebrating the strides we have made, while also reflecting on how we must keep building a more inclusive and equitable Harris County for all.