'Great nations don't hide from their history,' Biden calls for self-reflection on Slavery Remembrance Day

The horrors of slavery are a painful reminder of a dark period in American History, but by acknowledging the past, we can work toward a stronger future. 

For this reason, President Joe Biden marked August 20 as Slavery Remembrance Day. The resolution was launched by Houston Congressman Al Green and passed by the House of Representatives on July 27. 

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According to a press statement from Congressman Green's office, the resolution would join other national remembrance days like the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11. 

"Each day honors the memory of the lives lost to these atrocities," he said. "Slavery Remembrance Day would do the same by honoring the millions of enslaved Africans who were kidnapped, shipped to the Americas, and sold as property."

In a statement from the White House, President Biden acknowledged the importance of self-reflection to properly heal and strengthen the U.S. 

"More than 400 years ago, twenty enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the shores of what would become the United States. Millions more were stolen and sold in the centuries that followed, part of a system of slavery that is America’s original sin.

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"Great nations don’t hide from their history. They acknowledge their past, both the triumphs and the tragedies. Today is a day to reflect on the terrible toll of slavery, and on our nation’s profound ability to heal and emerge stronger. Despite the horrors they faced, these men and women and their descendants have made countless contributions to the building of this nation and the continuous effort to realize the American ideal.  I was honored last year to declare Juneteenth a national holiday, another moment to reflect and rededicate ourselves to becoming a more perfect union. And it’s why my Administration will continue the hard, ongoing work to bring true equity and racial justice to our country.

"I’m grateful for the efforts of Congress—in particular, Representative Al Green and Senator Elizabeth Warren—to recognize the significance of this day."

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Congressman Green added in his statement how people may observe Slavery Remembrance Day. 

"On August 20 annually, people are encouraged to pause at noon wherever they may be for a moment of silent solemnity for the victims of this evil crime against humanity," he said. "As they pause, they should place their right hand over their heart and lower their head in silence for a moment – after which they should conclude with, 'We must always remember.'"