90-Year-Old To Walk From Texas To D.C. To Make Juneteenth A National Holiday
Opal Lee on the far right, photo courtesy of Opal Lee
A soon to be 90-year-old woman is celebrating her forthcoming birthday by walking all the way from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., in hopes of making Juneteenth a national holiday.
According to the Star-TelegramOpal Lee has embarked on a 1,400 mile walk to the capital of the United States, using the journey as a means of celebrating the historical significance of Juneteenth.
The day, which commemorates when the slaves in Texas were formally informed of the freedom granted by the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln, is recognized as a state holiday in 45 states across the country.
But Lee wants it to be a national day of observance, writing on her GoFundMe page that it'll "provide an opportunity for all Americans to learn more about our common past and to better understand the experiences that have shaped our nation."
"I've done the calculations and it's about 1400 miles," Lee states on a website for her walk. "If I can do ten miles a day it will take 21 plus weeks to get to the White House if the Lord says the same and the creeks don’t rise."
Lee has also created a petition calling for Juneteenth to be designated as a national day of observance, having received nearly 800 signatures (she still needs over 99,000 to get a response from the White House).
However, the senior civil rights activist has already caught the attention of some lawmakers. According to Fox 4 the Congressional Black Caucus invited Lee to speak with them this past Thursday.
According to Lee's website she's currently in Shreveport, LA.
Multiple lawmakers have made efforts in commemorating Juneteenth. Senator John Cornyn from Texas has pushed efforts to recognize a Juneteenth Independence Day. The Senate passed a resolution in June, but Juneteenth advocates want a more permanent commemoration similar to a proposal that former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison supported in 2012.
Still, it's incredible to be seeing Lee embark on something such as this, who'll be turning 90 on October 7.