Juneteenth is Now a Holiday in the United States
Juneteenth, the day to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States, will be a national holiday.
President Joe Biden signed the bill making June 19 a paid day off for federal employees and many others on Thursday after the House of Representatives voted in favour of the Senate.
On June 19, 1865, the last slaves in the US were freed in Galveston, Texas. Since the death of black American George Floyd from police brutality in May last year and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, more and more Americans have supported the proposal to make June 19 a national holiday.
Texas became the first US state to recognize June 19 as a public holiday in 1980. Most other states and Washington D.C. have also recognized Juneteenth as a holiday for some time.
The new law forces employers across the country to decide whether to give their staff a paid day off. The name Juneteenth is taken from the words ‘June’ and ‘nineteenth’: June and nineteen.
Biden said at a ceremony at the White House that major nations are not ignoring the “painful moments” in their histories. “They embrace them.”