This 92-Year-Old Is Marching Throughout The States To Make Juneteenth A National Holiday
Opal Lee will receive the the Distinguished Service Award and then continue her walk for Juneteenth holiday awareness on Monday.
Opal Lee has spent 92 long years walking this earth and plans to dedicate her next steps to Juneteenth holiday awareness.
The retired teacher is resuming her walking campaign to push for Juneteenth to become a nationally recognized holiday. Currently, 46 states have Juneteenth as a holiday, but it's not observed on a national level.
Lee has walked 2.5 miles in each state hoping to galvanize the campaign and bring in more than 100,000 signatures to a Change.org campaign that will start in October.
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In July, she restarted the campaign in Detroit ahead of the second Democratic presidential candidate debates.
She will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the 400 Years of African American History Commission’s Day of Healing on Sunday in Hampton, Virginia.
In a press release, Lee said the award was one half of “two bookends that go great together because without the first event there would have been no reason for the second.”
On Monday, she will walk from Virginia's Stryker Center to the historic First Baptist Church to ring the Freedom Bell.
The Fort Worth, Texas, native has spent more than 40 years spreading awareness about Juneteenth and is a board member of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.
Lee and the NJOF are hoping people in every state contact their senators and urge them to pass legislation that would change US Code 36, which lists our national observances and holidays.
"At 92, I'm three years older than when I did this before, but I'm still just as committed to give it all I've got to get the attention of the administration and Congress for what we want accomplished. I'm looking forward to working with all the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation state and regional directors as we make this journey all across America. Let's line up our dates and get started!" Lee said on her website.
"I'll go where I'm invited, so we can get those 100,000 online signatures when we launch the petition. I'm willing to do my part in getting the need for this to be a holiday by drumming up interest in what we are doing, but I need all of you to take the little strength I've got to give and make a big show when I come to your town."