MAZON Marks Juneteenth as a Day of Celebration and Reflection for More Work Ahead to Confront Racism

June 18, 2021

Tomorrow marks Juneteenth, the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States and now a federal holiday. As families and communities around the country celebrate freedom, we are all also cognizant that true recognition of the end of slavery is addressing long-standing systemic racism in America. MAZON recognizes that confronting racial and economic injustice is essential to ending hunger. Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO, said:

“We cannot meet the current challenges of systemic barriers to food justice and the growing numbers of food insecure Americans, unless we understand their root causes. The causes of food insecurity are complex but persistent. Food systems and economic systems have been so influenced by bias — implicit and explicit — until it is impossible to address the former without confronting the latter. Even as we celebrate freedom, we must not ignore that there was a tragic delay in justice and recommit to making real the promise of freedom and justice for all.

“It is significant that this week, Congress and President Biden declared Juneteenth as a national holiday. But it’s not enough — our policymakers must enact other systemic solutions to racial injustice. This is not only critical as a means of confronting our nation’s shameful history; it is an essential step in addressing the persistent racial disparities we see among Black women, men, and families facing poverty and hunger in this country today.

“Grounded in the Jewish values of tzedek (pursuing justice) and b’tselem Elohim (respecting the inherent dignity of every person), MAZON will continue to fight for freedom, justice, equity, and opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and all other people of color in this country.”