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Juneteenth is a day that many Floridians find unfamiliar.

This anniversary, also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Jubilee Day and Emancipation Day, originated in 1865 in Galveston, Texas, and is celebrated on June 19. 

It commemorates the emancipation of the remaining enslaved African Americans post-Civil War, effectively ending slavery across the United States.

Although slavery was abolished upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution more than 150 years ago, discrimination continues to show its face in our communities. 

The Florida Commission on Human Relations is the state agency charged with investigating unlawful discrimination and ensuring that all people have access to equal opportunities in employment, housing and public accommodations.

As vice chair of the commission, I remain committed to this mission and vision to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the Sunshine State.

Juneteenth is an important date that is well-deserving of public acknowledgment. While the date it is celebrated is debatable, the fact remains that it is a day that signifies our nation’s capability to implement meaningful change despite the challenges and provides hope for the potential future unification of all Americans.

To finally end racial discrimination and social injustice and achieve equality for all Americans, it is important to continue remembering our history while engaging in conversations and necessary actions now and into the future.

— McGhee is vice chair of the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

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