Juneteenth passes Senate as a federal holiday in the US

2 mins read

The resolution pushing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day was unanimously passed by the senate on Tuesday.

The holiday remembers the period when slavery ended in the US.

The huge Black Lives Matter Protests triggered by the murder of Black man George Floyd has helped the resolution to gather momentum last year. It was also pushed through the domination of Democrats both in the White House and the Congress.

In 2020, the legislation was discouraged by Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, who cited that US taxpayers will shed millions of dollars through the holiday for federal workers. The senator had let go of his stand and made way for the resolution to be passed in the Senate.

“Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate,” the senator expressed in a statement. “While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter.”

To become a law, the legislation is required to be approved first by the House and then signed by US President Joe Biden.

The end of slavery in the US was announced by Major General Gordon Granger in Galvenston, Texas on June 19, 1865. The announcement was according to the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln.

Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980. The holiday has been observed in every state except South Dakota in the ten years since. However, there are only a few states who regard it as a paid holiday.

The measure to declare Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday was pushed by Congress members including Sen. Ed Markey, D (MA); Sen. John Cornyn, R (TX); and Rep. Sheila Jackson, D (TX).

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