Biden Vows To Keep Fighting For Black Americans During Early Juneteenth Celebration Concert At White House 

Biden Vows To Keep Fighting For Black Americans During Early Juneteenth Celebration Concert At White House 

We're counting on you to keep that promise, Biden!

The White House lawn looked slightly different as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a star-studded concert for an early Juneteenth celebration

Biden, Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff sat in the front row for the concert on June 10, which featured performances from legendary artists, including singers Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and rapper Doug E. Fresh. Several federal and state legislators came together on the South Lawn to celebrate Juneteenth, which was marked a federal holiday after Biden signed legislation in 2021. 

Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday is celebrated annually on June 19 – the day when the last enslaved Africans learned of their freedom in Galveston, Texas. Amid all the dancing and celebration, Biden spoke on the fight against efforts to eliminate Black history and vowed to continue a push to protect it. “Black history is American history,” Biden said to almost 1,700 attendees.  

“The day reminds us that we have a helluva lot more work to do. Let’s keep marching. Let’s keep the faith.”

Harris also made remarks setting a serious tone about Juneteenth being labeled as a day of action for voting rights, recognized as one of three National Days of Action on Voting. Each day, we will focus on various tactics to ensure voters are prepared with the necessary resources on how, where, and when to vote. 

The measure also hopes to encourage young students to register and be present at the polls to combat growing voter suppression tactics. Shortly after her speech, gospel singer Kirk Franklin invited her on stage for some joyous dancing while performing his hit single, “Smile.” 

Black Americans have always been highlighted as the reason behind Biden securing the White House in 2020. Actor and comedian Roy Woods Jr. served as the emcee for the event and took the time to celebrate the Biden administration’s strides within the Black community. He highlighted a number of efforts, including low prescription drug costs, the expansion of health care for veterans, investments in Black colleges, and student debt relief. 

The celebration comes right on time as the administration recently announced new initiatives to preserve Black history and culture. Neera Tanden, domestic policy adviser to the president, made a statement saying Juneteenth is more than just another day off from work but a time to really think back on history. “It’s not about a national holiday or a day off work. It really is to commemorate a moment in time, in our history,” Tanden said, according to The Hill.

“We know that history is under attack. There are forces in our country who want to erase aspects of our history … fundamentally, these attacks are about changing our history.”

One of the initiatives is the establishment of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This nationwide program celebrates Juneteenth and promotes Black history and culture until June 19, 2025 — regardless of state laws implemented to ban such teachings. All 50 states will receive funding to support reading materials, discussion programs, heightened interactive workshops, and classroom-ready Juneteenth content for teachers of grades K-12. 

While polls show that Biden is somewhat struggling to win back the same support he garnered four years ago, Biden is stepping things up by highlighting racial justice initiatives — like curating the country’s most diverse Cabinet and nominating Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

The Congressional Black Caucus chair, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), is doing their part by participating in a “week of action.”

“As we honor Juneteenth, we will also uplift the achievements we have made to date and talk about the work yet to be done,” Horsford said. 

“That is how we uplift our history. That is how we continue the progress that needs to be made.”