Ahead of the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta, 93-year-old Opal Lee of Fort Worth, TX is honing her message of a Juneteenth national holiday and adding more miles to her journey with stops at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA to lecture and walk on 11/14 and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH on 11/16. Four months after relaunching her walking campaign from 2016, she has walked in Detroit, MI, Williamsburg, VA, Rentiesville, OK, Galveston, TX, Jersey City, NJ, Birmingham, AL, Mount Bayou, MS, and Las Vegas, NV. Ms. Lee plans to continue her trek across the country to tell about the unifying affect Juneteenth can have to heal the nation, and wants the dwindling field of 2020 Presidential hopefuls to know she has her sites set on them.
She kicked off the change.org online petition (the second phase of her awareness campaign) last month with a goal to garner 100,000 signatures to show Congress and the Administration that there is support across the country for this. Since turning 93, she acknowledges that time is of the essence and hopes that she will see legislation passed in both houses of congress in 2020 that updates US Code 36 which lists our national observances and holidays.
A board member of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) since 1999, Mrs. Lee is giving it her all to ensure that the importance of Juneteenth as a unifying event is not forgotten. If anyone wants to follow her journey, sign the petition or make a donation of support, they can do so at www.opalswalk2dc.com, on Facebook @opalswalk2dc or Twitter & Instagram @opalsw2dc.