No need to call off from work, sis! The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that now names Juneteenth a national holiday. After passing by unanimous consent, the bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where its passage is all but assured, then on to President Biden’s desk for signature into law. Over the last few years, Juneteenth celebrations have become a great reason to get together while honoring the work our ancestors did to establish this country.
June 19th, or Juneteenth, is the day of recognition for the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans and commemorates the date in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, TX learned of their freedom. Over 150 years have passed since that date and motion was to pass the bill by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. was put in place with unanimous consent. The bill was first introduced by Texas senator John Cornyn and representative Sheila Jackson-Lee at the height of racial tensions across the country following the murder of George Floyd, but there was no support for it at the time.
“It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years,” Cornyn tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.” There, of course, are objections to the passage of the bill with some people outraged at the idea of other people getting to benefit from the trauma our ancestors endured during slavery. Giving the country a day off instead of putting actual reparations in place for the descendants of enslaved Black people has left a bad taste in the mouths of some, understandably so.
If the bill is passed in the House and signed by the president, Juneteenth would become the 11th annual federal holiday.