Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday.
A bill designating it as a federal holiday overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress on Wednesday. President Biden signed the bill into law Thursday afternoon. Juneteenth will be the newest national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That happened almost 40 years ago. This bill was long overdue and needed to happen especially with the climate of the world.
I know growing up when I was in school Juneteenth wasn’t taught but now that there has been more awareness brought to it my children will have a better understanding of what this celebration is for.
Some people have thought about this moment for some time. Others do not really have a lot of information on it.
There’s probably too many federal holidays right now but why not have another one?
Juneteenth commemorates the day the last enslaved Africans were told they were free. A group of Union soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas to say the Civil War had ended and the slaves were freed. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
When the Blacks heard they were finally free, which happened June 19, or Juneteenth, it was cause for celebration. For Black people, Juneteenth marks the struggles of slavery but also the empowerment felt knowing the last slaves were freed.
A little bit excited about Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday,” said Dr. Norma Gray, NAACP Rock Hill president. “The fact that legislation caught up with it was great news to hear but not anything that made me want to do cartwheels and back flips.”
In his speech Thursday, President Joe Biden said he and Congress are working to provide more money to black entrepreneurs and historically black universities and colleges. He also says he wants to get more black homeowners and more black and brown children into schools even earlier. Biden said there is still more work to be done.
Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, but federal workers will have Friday off to celebrate the newest holiday.