The United States House voted on Wednesday to declare a new federal holiday observing the end of slavery. Parliamentarians voted 415-14 to make 19th June, Juneteenth the 12th national holiday. Moreover, the bill now goes to the desk of President Joe Biden, and he expected to sign it into law. Juneteenth commemorates 19th June 1865, when Union soldiers took the freedom news to imprisoned Black people in Galveston, Texas – around two months after the Confederacy surrendered.
Congress: *makes Juneteenth a federal holiday
Also Congress: *refuses to exchange Election Day for Columbus Day, as a federal holiday
— Justice for Breonna Taylor (@thereal_steveee) June 16, 2021
That was also almost two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, unconstrained slaves in the Southern states of the country. It is the first new national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day created in 1983. Moreover, Representative Carolyn Maloney said that the federal holidays are expressly few in number and recognize the crucial milestone.
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee said that she would be in Galveston this Saturday to rejoice along with Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Previously, the Senate approved the bill one day earlier under a common pact that accelerates the process for considering legislation. It takes the only objection from one senator to stop such agreements.
Furthermore, the House vote comes as representatives struggle to overcome divisions on the legislation about the police reform following the killing of Black man George Floyd by the police department. As Republican state representatives push what experts said, it is an extraordinary number of bills intended to restrict access to the ballot box.
Senator Edward Markey Sponsored the Bill
Republican leaders say the aim is to prevent voter fraud; Democratic leaders struggle that the measures intended to decline minority voting rights. Nevertheless, many Congressional Black Caucus members took the floor of the House to speak in favor of the bill. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman said that she viewed Juneteenth as a tribute rather than a celebration because it signified something that delayed in happening.
Senator Edward Markey sponsored the bill with sixty co-sponsors. However, Democrats moved quickly to bring the Senate-approved bill to the house floor after the vote of the Senate one day before. Furthermore, some Republican representatives opposed the effort. Likewise, Representative Matt Rosendale says that declaring the national holiday was an effort to celebrate identity politics in the United States.
Several states across the country recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance of the day, and many of them hold celebrations. In addition, Texas, Washington, Virginia, and New York celebrate Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Under the latest legislation, the federal holiday would be recognized as Juneteenth National Independence Day.