An Emancipation Day band celebrates Juneteenth on June 19, 1900 in Texas. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On June 19, union members who work at the Port of San Diego will stop operations for eight hours in honor of Juneteenth, the anniversary of when the Emancipation Proclamation was effectuated in Texas.

The members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union at 29 ports from San Diego to Washington state will halt work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in support of George Floyd, the black man killed May 25 by Minneapolis police officers, and to take a stand against racism.

“Our union has a long history of confronting racism on the job, in our communities and around the world,” ILWU International President Willie Adams said. “Today we’re joining millions of people who are demanding justice and fundamental change.”

The ILWU said the action will follows the June 9 demonstration in which the ILWU Coast Longshore Division stopped work on the West Coast at 9 a.m. for nine minutes in honor of Floyd, adding to the chorus of voices protesting police brutality and systematic racism.

On June 19, 1865, black slaves in Texas were told of their emancipation from slavery two years after the Emancipation Proclamation became effective, changing the legal status under federal law of enslaved African Americans in the Confederate states from slave to free.

The ILWU said in the 157 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, the United States “has made progress, but the changes necessary to end systemic racism have come slowly or not at all, as the murder of Mr. Floyd on May 25, 2020 demonstrated.”

–City News Service