UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – A new Federal holiday is now on the horizon. The senate unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth, the day the last enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom, a national holiday. Raquel Martin reports both Republicans and Democrats say the important date is an important mark in American History.
“We join together to celebrate a momentous day in America history.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are uniting to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
“Today we have crushed racial divide and we are in-fact unified around freedom.”
“It’s just a great day for America.”
Tuesday senators unanimously passed a bill to commemorate the date when the last enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom, June 19th, 1865 in Texas. Nearly two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
“There’s nothing more powerful than idea whose time has come”
Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, where Juneteenth has been a state holiday for 40 years, spearheaded the effort in the Senate and says he hopes new federal recognition will bring healing to a divided country.
“This is the most propitious time for us to recognize our history and to learn from it.”
Currently forty-seven states officially recognize the date. And last year following the death of George Floyd, a growing number of companies began adopting the date as a paid holiday.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson previously blocked the bill, arguing the occasion doesn’t justify the 600-million-dollar annual cost to taxpayers. Without his formal objection, the bill moved to the house.
“Juneteenth unquestionably deserves a place among our nation’s most celebrations but it will be a day of remembrance” – Chuck Schumer
After passing the house the bill will head to President Biden’s desk for a signature.