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VIDEO: Kaine Delivers Keynote Speech at NAACP Loudoun Branch’s Juneteenth March & Celebration

Watch his full speech here (skip to minute 40)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a former civil rights lawyer, attended the NAACP Loudoun Branch’s Juneteenth March & Celebration in Leesburg, where he delivered the keynote speech. He first marched from the Leesburg County Courthouse to the Orion Anderson Memorial, which honors a 14-year old from Hamilton who was lynched in 1889.

During his speech, Kaine said, “When I think about Juneteenth, I think about a powerful word from scripture from the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." It is not just a freedom holiday. It's a truth holiday… and that's why it's important to come and learn some truths maybe that not all of us were taught coming up.”

Photos from the day can be found here

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, and is celebrated on June 19 to mark the day Major-General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation—to inform the last enslaved African Americans in the U.S. of their freedom. Last year, Kaine cosponsored and voted to pass the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which established June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day and a federal holiday. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on June 17, 2021.

Kaine has long fought to advance civil rights and equality for all Americans. Most recently, he has been a leader in the Senate in the fight to protect voting rights and expand access to the ballot box.

Kaine later met with Black-owned business owners in Leesburg, Ashburn, and Dulles to discuss support for minority-owned businesses. Kaine has been a strong advocate of supporting small businesses and ensuring Black-owned and minority-owned businesses have equal access to federal resources. After hearing that minority-businesses had disparate access to the Paycheck Protection Program early in the pandemic, Kaine and Democrats pushed for a set-aside in future funding for financial institutions most likely to serve minority businesses, and pushed for changes in program guidance to better serve minority small businesses. Further, the American Rescue Plan included funding for a Community Navigator Pilot Program, which will help better connect underserved small businesses to available federal resources. Kaine also successfully pushed for permanent authorization of the Minority Business Development Administration, including a provision based on his Reaching America’s Rural Minority Business Act, which will establish business centers to support minority-owned businesses in rural areas in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.