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Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

Posted: June 19, 2009 09:44 AM

The Healing Has Begun... U.S. Senate Apologizes For Slavery


Today, we celebrate Juneteenth, a day commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865. Yesterday, after 144 years, the United States Senate apologized for slavery. With a unanimous vote, America has begun her healing process. For our country will never be able to heal itself without atoning for the sins of our past. We have finally recognized that in order for us to move forward as a people in this beautiful nation, we need to acknowledge the pain that we all have suffered because of slavery. The pain has lasted for the past 144 years, and now with our government taking the right step in apologizing, I know that we can begin to heal. The effects of slavery on our communities have been devastating. The devastation does not stop because of the apology; however these are words that we needed to hear. We all needed to hear. This was a day that many of us have dreamed about for our entire lives. This was a day that many who were at the forefront of this struggle could not enjoy because they are no longer with us. And for those heroes, I go to work every day to make sure that they are never forgotten.

With my newly appointed position as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I vow to work on behalf of our young people to make sure that we never have to feel this sort of pain again. As we all know, slavery and human trafficking exist all around the world, at record numbers. We must remember the past, however we also must work to prevent our mistakes from happening again in the future. I will work even harder in my roles as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and I urge you all to take a moment to recognize the importance of the actions of the United States Senate. Let the healing continue...