In Observance of Juneteenth 2022, Statement by the Farmworker Association of Florida

On Juneteenth, the Farmworker Association of Florida recognizes the importance of this holiday  to the nation and to the African American former farmworkers in our community. The struggles  and horrors of slavery are not far removed, as many of our community members are descended  from enslaved ancestors and from parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were  “enslaved” under the exploitative systems of indentured servitude and sharecropping.  

We mark Juneteenth every June 19th as a celebration and commemoration of the end of  enslavement in the United States, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation  of 1863, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all freed people were no  longer considered “property” and whose forced labor was exploited as the means to wealth for  rich, white landowners. That such an act was needed is testament to how deeply entrenched was  the racism of that time, the legacy of which still taints our society and our institutions in 2022. In  fact, it was not until last year that the day became an official federal holiday 

Forms of forced labor continue to exist

As we mark 157 years since that moment in 1865, we recognize that while enslavement is  officially no longer legal in the United States, the racism that fueled enslavement continues to  plague us as a nation, and we see it in many disparities impacting minority or BIPOC  communities in the United States. It is also important to note that while the Emancipation  Proclamation also officially ended enslavement, other forms of forced labor continue to exist in  this country. One of them is the use of prison labor, but our racialized food system, wage  disparities, and reliance on imported labor are also legacies of that history.  

Towards a more equitable and just food and economic system

I invite all of FWAF’s members and supporters to take a moment to reflect on what Juneteenth  means for each of us as members of our communities, and I ask that we all consider how we  have benefited from the legacy of enslavement and commit ourselves to work together for a  more equitable and just food and economic system. 

Justice for All! 

Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli
General Coordinator
Farmworker Association of Florida 

Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli

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