FOX stars come together to commemorate Juneteenth

FOX stars gathered together for Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Rockmond Dunbar and Aurora Perrineau were among the celebrities commemorating the holiday in a powerful video.

“Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that all states granted slaves their freedom,” Frank Harts and Brian Michael Smith said.

“On the same day, in 1866, Juneteenth was celebrated for the first time,” said Aurora Perrineau.

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The stars outlined the work left to do and progress that still needs to be made, the importance of acknowledging the pain caused by hundreds of years of slavery, and the need for creating a better present and future.

“All lives can’t matter until black lives matter,” Warner said.

Juneteenth marks the day on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863 but it was not enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

The day is recognized in 47 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states without an official recognition. And it is not yet a federal holiday. It took roughly 18 years after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. before his birthday was observed as a federal holiday.

Multiple organizations, from innovative tech companies to established pro sports leagues, have recently acknowledged that they will commemorate Juneteenth as a holiday. There is also push for making Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States. 

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The renewed attention for Juneteenth follows recent protests over racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

In addition to the traditional cookouts and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation — the Civil War-era order that declared all slaves free in Confederate territory — Americans were marching, holding sit-ins or car caravan protests to demand racial justice and police reform.

Earlier this month, FOX aired a 12-second message of silence in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This station is owned by the FOX Corporation.