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Juneteenth: Linda Tigani calls for end to systemic racism, inequity

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Linda Tigani, Chair and Executive Director of the Commission on Racial Equity (CORE), reflected on the ongoing struggle for African American freedom and the urgent need for systemic change.

“Today, I am reflecting on the African American community’s work to be free. Protecting and promoting human and civil rights and freedoms as a daily practice grounded in community power and fierce commitment to racial equity and social justice,” Tigani stated.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas finally learned of their freedom, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Tigani emphasized that while the federal recognition of Juneteenth is significant, it cannot erase centuries of racial injustice.

“In an echo of the brutal backlash after Emancipation, we are currently experiencing a rollback of human and civil rights and freedoms. Education, policing, housing, and access to health care are some of the systems that continue to evoke racial harm and injustice,” she said. Tigani argued that true freedom remains elusive until bias and discrimination are eradicated from government operations and community voices are actively included in decision-making processes.

CORE, an independent 15-member commission, is dedicated to holding NYC government accountable for advancing racial equity. Tigani highlighted the commission’s role in addressing long-term disinvestment and systemic injustices.

“By appropriately funding new ways of working, government can begin to redress the harm of long-term disinvestment that will bring out equity and justice,” she added.

The NYC Charter, often referred to as the city’s constitution, calls on the government to uplift the histories of those who have suffered and fought for freedom.

Tigani reiterated this commitment, “We acknowledge the grave injustices and atrocities that form part of our country’s history… and we recognize that these systemic injustices have caused profound harm and trauma.”

CORE invites New Yorkers to participate in shaping the city’s future by joining in the creation of NYC’s inaugural Community Equity Priorities. The public is encouraged to complete the response form by August 16, 2024, to ensure their voices are heard.

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