Saturday, 18 September, 2021


U.S. Senate approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

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Conrad Doyle | 17 June, 2021, 05:04

The vote passed 415-14, with all dissenting votes coming from Republican members of the chamber.

The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, an association based in MS, has worked for years to get Juneteenth officiated as a national holiday.

For the first time in the 15-year history of its Juneteenth celebration, Newport News is commemorating the holiday with a week's worth of free educational events. The day, traditionally marked in southern states only, marks when news of the end of slavery reached the slaves in the southwestern states. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors.

"Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognize the wrongs of the past", said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

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The legislation has gained momentum within the past year due to the rising global Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the police killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the Democratic Party's congressional takeover. The 2020 bill did not progress to a vote. This year's celebrations come amid a culture war.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) this week said that he would end his opposition to a Juneteenth federal holiday.

Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington are the four states where state employees get paid on the Juneteenth. He tweeted Monday: "We have a long road towards racial justice in the United States and we can not get there without acknowledging our nation's original sin of slavery".

Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia observe the date in some manner.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth Day, commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. Ivey's proclamation notes that Alabama in 2012 became the 40th state to recognize Juneteenth through legislation introduced by former state Sen.

Had any senator objected, the bill would have been scheduled for debate, miring the proposal in a legislative timetable that is already chock-full with Biden administration priorities, such as infrastructure and voting rights.

In addition, some state legislatures are trying to ban discussions about systemic racism, the legacy of slavery and critical race theory.

JUNETEENTH is a national celebration of the ending of slavery in the US.

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