HARLINGEN — On the second floor of the Harlingen City Hall, a proclamation was made.
At noon of Friday June 19, 2020, Mayor Chris Boswell alongside City Comissioner Michael Mezmar and Victor Leal, a proclamation to commemorate Juneteenth was made.
June 19, 1865, is the date when Union Army General Gordon Granger, upon his arrival in Galveston, announced that the Civil War had ended and that slaves had been freed.
Because of the importance of the date, Boswell said he looked forward commemorating it.
“We are eager to commemorate this Texas holiday and to remind our community of the importance of this historic event,” he said.
George McShan, a retired school board member and education consultant, gave a few words regarding the educational value of the date.
Lonnie Davis, involved in finance and the insurance business as well as a community member, expressed his own family history with Juneteenth.
McShan spoke about courageous leadership and the recent movements happening in the United States.
“What will destroy the world is not evil; what will destroy the world is people watching and not doing anything,” McShan said, quoting Albert Einstein.
“People are coming together as one. Folks sit on the sideline, they don’t have the courage to stand up. That is what is so beautiful about today, locally elected officials are recognizing (the event),” he said.
“This is a great beginning to have courageous leadership that is contagious,” McShan said.
Davis comes from one of the original African American families in the Rio Grande Valley.
He expressed gratitude to have Juneteenth be recognized.
“I remember at the early part of my life celebrating the 19th of June and I’ll ask my grandfather and he’d say, hush boy, this is our Fourth of July,” Davis said.
“Juneteenth was a date to celebrate and have a good time. Meet your cousins, aunts and uncles. I want it to be remembered as a happy time,” he said.
Boswell read an opinion piece by Bishop Michael Curry published in the Washington Post.
“It really spoke to me and I wanted to share it with all of you today,” Boswell said.
“Love does not look like the harm being caused by some police or some protesters in our cities. Violence against any person is violence against a child of God, created in God’s image. And that ultimately is violence against God, which is blasphemy — the denial of the God whose love is the root of genuine justice and true human dignity and equality,” he read.