The Honorable Bill Clinton|
United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20501
Dear President Clinton:
Unfortunately, during our WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000 National Holiday Observance, June 17-19, 2000, in Washington, DC, you did not respond to our request for a meeting to discuss our emphatic plea for you to issue a Presidential Proclamation establishing Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Holiday in America and the establishment of a National Juneteenth Commission. Juneteenth leaders from across America were in town during the week of WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000 only to be disappointed by the refusal of our President to respond to written requests to meet with us during our historic year 2000 1st National Observance of America's 2nd Independence Day, the "19th of June", Juneteenth Independence Day, in Washington, DC, the nation's capitol. A capitol where the White House and the US Capitol Building were built from the contributions of the ancestors of Americans of African descent, as slave laborers.
This follows over three years of not responding to correspondence concerning the observance of Juneteenth Independence Day in America. It seems quite apparent that during your two terms as President of the United States you do not consider the observance of Juneteenth Independence Day in America with the same significance that you place on the observance of the "4th of July", where the ancestors of Americans of African descent were slaves throughout most of the country.
We appreciate the meeting at the White House that was held with your administration representatives following WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000 after our return home, at great expense to those Juneteenth leaders in attendance, as well as the conference calls with Jena Roscoe, Associate Director of African-American Affairs for the White House. However, it is quite apparent, now that no one will return our phone calls and the absence of anyone from your administration at our 3rd Annual National Juneteenth Convention and Expo, August 25-27, 2000, in Ontario, California, hosted by Juneteenth America. Inc. (JAI), that your administration does not support the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" efforts to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Holiday in America. You and Vice-president Al Gore were given personal invitations to attend by John Thompson, Founder & CEO of JAI during our meeting at the White House.
As you can see from the enclosed correspondence, we have responded to Jena Roscoe's request to ask Congress to amend their 1997 resolutions recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day in America, only to have Senator Majority Leader, Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) confirm what we knew to be true. An amendment to Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56 was not necessary for the President to issue a proclamation establishing Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Holiday. The President of the United States can issue a proclamation without a request from the Congress. I have enclosed a copy of Senator Trent Lott's letter concerning this matter for your review.
As the president of all the people, I again request that you do the right thing in recognition of freedom and to the thousands of Americans of African descent who built this country as slave laborers that you issue a Presidential Proclamation establishing Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Holiday in America. The holiday would not be a paid federal holiday, but would be recognized on all calendars like Flag Day. The Congress has already acted to recognize Juneteenth Independence Day in America. Why won't you do the same as President of the United States?
I again request that you give serious consideration to the appointment of a National Juneteenth Commission to gain wider recognition of Juneteenth. The commission will advise you and future Presidents on how the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day can bring all Americans together with the goal of promoting greater understanding and racial healing in the country.
Our WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2001 National Holiday Observance will be held June 16-19, 2001, at the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and US Capitol Grounds. I have enclosed a schedule of events for your review. We again request your support for our country's 2nd Independence Day Observance and our 2nd Annual National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Slavery during the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day in America. It is the right and needed thing for the leader of our country to do.
Look forward to your future support for Juneteenth Independence Day in America.
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
cc: John Thompson, Juneteenth America, Inc.
Vice-president Al Gore