November 17, 2021

Senator Warren and Congressman Al Green Reintroduce Slavery Remembrance Day Resolution

Text of Bill (pdf)

Washington D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congressman Al Green (D-Texas) introduced a joint resolution to designate August 20th as Slavery Remembrance Day. This legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

“The horrors of slavery can never be forgotten. We must acknowledge the dangers and dehumanization that enslaved people faced, and honor those who led the long fight for abolition and justice. Today, the legacy of slavery still has pervasive impacts on the descendants of enslaved individuals in institutionalized racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and in other forms. Representative Al Green and I are introducing this legislation to establish August 20 as Slavery Remembrance Day — an important step to ensure we never forget this stain on our country’s history,” said Senator Warren.

“The legacy of slavery, our nation’s seminal sin, continues casting its shadow across our nation today. It fuels invidious discrimination even in the most unsuspecting of places and perpetuates attempts at sanitizing oppressive history in our classrooms,” Congressman Al Green said. “Currently, we have remembrance days for the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11. Enshrining such events not only in our collective memories, but also among our official, collective observances, serves to remind us of atrocities that have occurred and must never be repeated. As an immoral institution, slavery is no exception.”

Congressman Al Green continued, “This resolution proposes August 20th be designated as Slavery Remembrance Day because on that day in 1619, the first slave ship arrived on the shores of the English-speaking American colonies. This annual reminder is necessary because it teaches persons to denounce oppression while simultaneously exemplifying why it should be denounced. However, efforts to teach about the suffering of enslaved persons are being fought by states like Texas with its recent bill to curb how race and the history of racism are taught in schools. The Texas bill is dangerous because it limits teaching by excluding any mention of historic individuals who challenged the discriminatory status quo, such as Harriett Tubman (Araminta Ross) and John Brown. We must remember the history of slavery to avoid repeating the horrors of slavery.”

Senator Warren has led numerous efforts to acknowledge the wrongdoings of our nation’s past and enact policies to dismantle systemic racism. 

  • In July 2021, Senator Warren and Congressman Green introduced the Reconciliation in Place Names Act, which would create a commission to review and rename land units and geographic features with racist and bigoted names.

  • In March 2021, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas.) unveiled a resolution to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. The resolution serves as a reminder that the fight to end racist violence against Black people continues.

  • In March 2021, Senators Warren and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Congressman Kaiali'i Kahele (D-Hawaii) reintroduced the Remove the Stain Act to revoke the Medal of Honor from the soldiers who perpetrated the Wounded Knee massacre.

  • In January 2021, Senator Warren cosponsored Senator Booker and Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s resolution, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals.