June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, has long been an unofficial holiday in the United States commemorating the day when the final slaves in the state of Texas were officially emancipated by Union soldiers after the defeat of the Confederacy in the US Civil War. This important day, marking the official end of the practice of slavery in the United States, is being signed into law as a federal holiday.
Yesterday, Congress passed a new bill 415-14 that would turn Juneteenth into Juneteenth National Independence Day, the official 12th federal holiday. This would make Juneteenth the first new federal holiday to be passed since former President Ronald Reagan signed Martin Luthor King Jr. Day into law in 1983.
“Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the most important milestones,” said New York Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney. “I cannot think of a more important milestone to commemorate than the end of slavery in the United States.”
“We have a responsibility to teach every generation of Black and white Americans the pride of a people who have survived, endured and succeeded in these United States of America despite slavery,” Michigan Democratic Representative Brenda Lawrence said.
“The bill is passed.”
BREAKING: The House passes bill establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday. The bill now heads to Pres. Biden’s desk for his signature. https://t.co/UDnotcQKi3 pic.twitter.com/gHEHYPP5S2
— ABC News (@ABC) June 16, 2021
With the bill’s passage, it’s now on its way to the desk of President Joe Biden, where he has already confirmed his intent to sign it into law two days before the day in question. The signing is scheduled to take place today at 3:30 PM Eastern time in the East Room of the White House, where both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will give statements about the new holiday.