This Juneteenth as we celebrate the day the last slaves were freed in America, we must also be cognizant of the continuing legacies of slavery rooted in the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism that have been ongoing for centuries. The last five decades of Democratic and Republican Party rule have culminated in a system of modern-day slavery founded on racially discriminatory laws. Jim Crow, segregation, redlining, the War on Drugs, for-profit prisons and mass incarceration serve to further empower and enrich the ruling class.
Our institutions from the Department of Justice to local police departments designed to enforce the law, instead act with impunity above it. Police brutality against African-Americans is widespread as evidenced by citizen videos of high-profile murders and use of excessive force such as the deployment of tasers, rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. Systemic injustices against African-Americans are also evident on a daily basis in unequal health outcomes, unequal housing opportunities, and unequal access to quality education.
Authoritarian, racially unjust laws have been pushed by both parties in Congress, with the support of their multinational corporate donors. Many of these laws have been championed and put into effect by former Senator, Vice President and now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. In Virginia, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam applauds himself for asking for the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond and for making Juneteenth a state holiday. Yet we are still protesting Northam's environmentally racist gas pipelines and compressor stations, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) that will connect to two compressor stations - the Gidley station in majority-minority communities in Hampton Roads and the Union Hill station threatening to destroy an historic African-American community in Buckingham County. We must not allow duopoly politicians to take credit for the gains won by black and brown people on the front lines of popular struggle around the world. We must stand in political disobedience to end the corporate two-party system that got us here.
The Green Party is the only national corporate-free political choice in 2020 and beyond that has a platform to dismantle racism and decentralize corporate power, putting control of our communities and public systems in the hands of the people where it belongs. The Green Party of Virginia stands in solidarity with the demands of protesters to defund and restructure the police state, to move that funding to community control of the police and social support systems, and to end mass incarceration. We recognize that demilitarizing the police domestically means demilitarizing our foreign policy. We understand that until we have a universal healthcare system, those in mental health crises will continue to end up in prisons or be killed by police rather than receive medical care. The Green Party has led on issues of criminal justice reforms that are now majority supported, ranging from legalizing marijuana to an ecosocial Green New Deal creating millions of living wage clean jobs and a just transition for workers. And we are the only national party demanding reparations for the historic injustices of slavery, without which there cannot be any true justice.
This Juneteenth, we celebrate the end of chattel slavery. Despite deep-rooted social and political ills, there is also cause to celebrate people of all races standing together worldwide with the growing Black Lives Matter movement ignited by calls for justice for George Floyd. That is real power for revolutionary change. The Green Party of Virginia will continue to mobilize for a future that puts people, planet and peace over profit – a future where there is justice and peace. Join us!