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Juneteenth Poised to Become Official Federal Holiday

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Juneteenth Poised to Become Official Federal Holiday

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, is a longstanding unofficial holiday in the United States that commemorates the formal emancipation of the last slaves in Texas by Union forces post the defeat of the Confederacy in the US Civil War. This significant day symbolizes the official termination of slavery in the United States and is on the verge of being recognized as a federal holiday.

Yesterday, a new bill was passed by Congress with a vote of 415-14, designating Juneteenth as Juneteenth National Independence Day, the 12th official federal holiday. This move marks Juneteenth as the first additional federal holiday since the enactment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day under President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1983.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, stated, “Our federal holidays are intentionally limited and acknowledge the most vital milestones. I can’t think of a more crucial milestone to honor than the abolition of slavery in the United States.”

Representative Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Michigan, emphasized, “It’s our duty to educate each succeeding generation of Black and white Americans on the resilience of a people who have thrived, withstood, and excelled in the United States despite the shadow of slavery.”

Following the bill’s approval, it is proceeding to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, with his confirmation of intent to sign it into law two days before the occasion. The signing ceremony is scheduled today at 3:30 PM Eastern time in the White House’s East Room, where both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver statements about the new holiday.

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