Updated: Jun 21
Juneteenth or Jubilee was the date on which enslaved people in parts of Texas were finally liberated (June 19, 1865). The Jubilee or Juneteenth, was recognized as a National Holiday in 2021 (June 17, 2021).
Juneteenth remains a constant reminder that freedom and inclusivity have always been a hard-fought battle for Black Americans, one that should not have continued to this day.
This year, Congress has approved a bill to make Juneteenth our 12th federal holiday and the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. day in 1983. The House voted 415-14 Wednesday, and the bill has now progressed to President Joe Biden's desk, where he is anticipated to sign it into law.
News of this new holiday comes as lawmakers are still deeply polarized regarding issues such as the teaching of critical race theory in American schools and whether police reform legislation would be useful. Despite the majority of Senators voting in favor of the bill, some Republican lawmakers were opposed. Representative Matt Rosendale of Montana stated his opposition in a press release, "Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what united us rather than our differences, I will vote no."
Alongside Rosendale, the House Republicans who voted against the bill include Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andrew Clyde of George, Scott Des Jarlais of Tennessee, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Ronny Jackson of Texas, Doug LaMalfa of California, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Tom McClintock of California, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Chip Roy of Texas, and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin.
Despite slight opposition, the bill will be placed on the President's desk, where he is expected to sign it into law, and June 19 will officially be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
For more information on Juneteenth, a linked film is available.