On June 19, 1865 in the hot summer fields of Galveston, Texas, General Gordon Granger announced that by proclamation and executive order of the President of the United States, all enslaved Americans of African descent were emancipated from their former estate and had a right to live as free men and women. The people gathered and rejoiced, sang and praised God. However, the two ironic facts persisted, then and now—first, the slaves were already declared free, they just didn’t know. Second, while they were legally free from bondage, most were still enslaved economically, in their mind and in their spirits. Sadly, many today still live with the same constraints.

Nevertheless, June 19 is a day where we as a people celebrate freedom — both as a moment of historical record and as an ideal we pursue every day. This Juneteenth, however, will be a Juneteenth like none other. We are actively involved in a campaign for the very soul of America and attempts to lift the stains left by centuries old economic and social inequities. This Juneteenth, we have an opportunity to celebrate not only the liberation of African Americans from slavery, but America’s potential emancipation from parts of her past and on towards a brighter future.

The fight for economic inclusion isn’t a black issue, nor is it a white issue. It’s an American dilemma. But we have the power to change the narrative and push for equal opportunity for all. While all Americans enjoy liberty under the Constitution, many remain enslaved to negative thinking, and debt, due to lack of opportunity and poor financial habits. Much like the slaves in Galveston, Texas, the way out has already been provided, but they just never got The Memo.

I encourage you all to read my piece, which was recently published by the Milken Institute, which outlines what I call The New Marshall Plan. In it, I outline a set of proposals which, if enacted on a federal and state level, can help move America in the right direction and will ensure opportunity and progress for all. Then, join me and Operation HOPE in making a difference in the lives of Americans everywhere through your giving, as a supporter of The New Marshall Plan, or through a HOPE Commitment. You can find links to each below.

Let’s continue to fight for change in America, together.

Donate: If you’d like to donate to support HOPE’s work around financial dignity and empowerment, visit us at http://www.operationhope.org/donateto give, safely and securely, today.

The New Marshall Plan Support: If you would like to find ways to help promote and/or enact the New Marshall Plan on some level, email us at team@operationhope.org and we’ll put you in touch with Bill Fair, Director of HOPE’s COVID-19 and Civil Unrest Responses.

HOPE Commitments: Make a change in your community and let us know how we can help. Visit us at hopecommitments.org and make your Commitment, today.

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