The entire nation has been having a serious conversation about race and civil rights in recent weeks, and, at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Thursday, June 18 meeting, the board acknowledged that discussion in several ways – including a move at the very beginning of the meeting.
Guilford County Commissioner Carlvena Foster, one of three African-American commissioners on the nine-member board, read a resolution celebrating the end of slavery.
Foster was also out and about on the following night at a major Juneteenth celebration in High Point.
At the June 18 meeting, the resolution recounted the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865, when US Army General Gordan Granger arrived in Texas and issued General Order No. 3 on June 19 of that year.
That order declared all slaves free.
“Whereas, the ensuing celebration of the end of slavery, which became known as Juneteenth, is the oldest national celebration of the end of slavery in the United States,” the county’s resolution reads, “and Whereas Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom and remembers the courage of all who sacrificed and suffered injustices in the fight against slavery; and Whereas, Juneteenth honors the historic heritage and contributions that Americans of African descent have made to help shape the cultural, academic, social, economic and moral attributes of this nation …
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners do hereby proclaim June 19, 2020 as a day to celebrate ‘Juneteenth’ in Guilford County and encourages all citizens to participate in commemorative and educational events, while remembering that all Americans, regardless of race, should be equal parties to the immeasurable opportunities our nation has to offer.”
The resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the board, also reaffirmed the board’s belief in “the fundamental ideologies of liberty and equality for all,” and also the board’s recognition that a shared history “continues to unite us in the struggle for equity, diversity and inclusivity.”
Like many public bodies, since the police killing of George Floyd, the Board of Commissioners has spent a great deal of time discussing civil rights as well as working with the Sheriff’s Department to improve the ways law that enforcement operates locally.
Several commissioners have been in close contact with Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers in recent weeks and have heard presentations on the state of the protests that have taken place in Guilford County.
In some parts of the country, local officials are talking about “defunding” law enforcement agencies. However, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips has made it crystal clear that he has no interest in doing that in Guilford County.