GALVESTON, Texas – A 94-year-old activist brought a walking campaign to Galveston to help make Juneteenth a national holiday.
“I’m going to keep walking until Juneteenth is a national holiday,” said Ms. Opal Lee.
Ms. Opal Lee, 94, continued her walking campaign, “Opal’s Walk 2 D.C.,” on Memorial Day in Galveston.
The goal: Make Juneteenth a national holiday.
June 19 is the day freedom from slavery was proclaimed in Texas.
“I’m even advocating we celebrate from June 19 until the 4th of July because we weren’t free in 1776. I want them to know that there are disparities that we need to address,” said Ms. Lee.
The 2.5-mile walk kicked off at Menard Park and passed several historic landmarks.
Ms. Lee has walked thousands of miles from Dallas to D.C. since 2016 pushing for change.
Her great-grandson says she has always fought for equal rights and hopes others will too.
“She’s doing this walk to bring recognition and rightfully so, history and we push our history forward is important and it’s been important to her and it’s been important to our family,” says Joe Roland, Ms. Lee’s great-grandson.
Ms. Lee has already collected more than 1.5 million signatures in an online campaign.
Lawmakers recently reintroduced legislation to nationally recognize Juneteenth.
Ms. Lee is hopeful this time it will pass.
“They authored another bill in the senate and Sheila Jackson Lee authored another bill in the house and so we are off and running again to make Juneteenth a national holiday. And I’m just so sure it’s going to happen,” says Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee is hoping to get 3 million signatures. If you are interested in signing the petition, you can click here.