U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill today to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
The bill designates June 19, 2021 as Juneteenth Independence Day. It’s in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which news of the end of slavery reached enslaved people in Southwestern states.
One of the strongest advocates for declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday has been Ms. Opal Lee from Texas. At 89, she walked from Texas to Washington to raise awareness and petition signatures in support of the holiday. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota had the chance to speak to Ms. Lee today following the bill’s passage in the Senate.
The bill still needs to pass the U.S. House before going to President Joe Biden’s desk.