The United States may have a new federal holiday on its hands. In June 2020, we reported that then-Senator Kamala Harris was making moves to hopefully turn Juneteenth into a national holiday. There hasn’t been much news regarding the progression until Tuesday (June 15) when it was shared that the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that would confirm Juneteenth’s presence in holiday history.
Juneteenth has been commemorated by communities all around America for decades as people celebrate enslaved peoples in Texas learning on June 19, 1985, that they were now free thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 that went into effect in 1863.
Montinique Monroe / Stringer / Getty Images
“Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognize the wrongs of the past,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “But we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and fulfill the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution.”
This decision still needs to be confirmed with the House of Representatives and comes during a time when America is under heated debate regarding whether or not Critical Race Theory should be taught in schools. Some have argued that students need to closely examine how political approaches to race have affected our justice system and even economic disparities. Critics claim that such a course would vilify White people and their contributions to society under the guise of racism.
It’s unclear how the U.S. plans to further recognize Juneteenth, but those who have been waiting for political recognition are excited at the prospects. Check out a clip below.