Communities across the country are coming together to celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the abolishment of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. And on Saturday, June 15th, Americans for Prosperity Foundation North Carolina and the Grassroots Leadership Academy joined in the festivities in Durham, North Carolina.

In an effort spearheaded by AFPF North Carolina’s Misty Odell, we partnered to educate Juneteenth revelers on the policies that break down barriers which prevent people from realizing their potential. Just as Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, our community celebrates policies that empower people to take charge of their own destiny.

From educational opportunity to criminal justice reform, we know advancing policies that empower people to improve their own lives and their communities are what promotes equality and creates the conditions for prosperity.

Hundreds of Juneteenth revelers stopped by the AFPF-GLA booth to learn about criminal justice reform and how it impacts our communities. We believe an effective criminal justice system protects people and preserves public safety, respects human dignity, restores victims, removes barriers to opportunity for people with criminal records, and ensures equal justice under for all under the law.

By focusing on overcriminalization, policing practices, due process, sentencing, second chances, and expungement, we were able to shed light on North Carolina’s justice system and chart a path toward a more equitable and fair system that will keep the public safe and provide opportunity to formerly incarcerated individuals.

On the heels of the passage of the FIRST STEP Act in Congress last December, states are embracing bold policies that are reconfiguring how we administrate justice. These policies are helping to rehabilitate incarcerated people and preparing them to return to society to find gainful employment and reunite with their families and their communities.

GLA is proud to stand with the thousands of Americans who will celebrate Juneteenth this week at festivals, cookouts, and family reunions. And in the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, we will continue to “unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”

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