The Orange County Board of Commissioners adopted a proclamation at its Sept. 3 meeting declaring Aug. 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020, as a year of remembrance for the 400th anniversary of unfree Africans first arriving in English North America.
The proclamation encourages the county's Human Relations Commission to plan programs to acknowledge the impact of slavery and laws enforcing racial discrimination have had in the United States and encourage civic, patriotic, historical and other groups to organize and participate in activities throughout the year.
“Our country moves closer to healing in terms of race relations and equity when we share the truth about its formation and structural design," said Deborah Stroman, chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. "The way in which African Americans are situated – socially, economically, and politically – can be traced to 1619. I am grateful for the unanimous vote by the Commissioners to recognize this important part of American history. I am also excited about the awareness that the proclamation has generated and future related activities hosted by the HRC.”
Several community organizations have already hosted events, and Stroman said the HRC would plan more events through August 2020. Events will be posted on the Orange County website as they are scheduled.