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Juneteenth celebrated as a paid federal holiday

If you went to your mailbox to find it empty on Monday, June 19, it is
because there is a new paid federal holiday added to the calendar in June
2022. Government offices and banks were closed to take a paid federal
holiday that was recently recognized by the Biden Administration to raise
awareness of an important historical moment in United States history of
ending slavery.
Beginning with the state of Texas by proclamation in 1938 and by
legislation in 1979 every state in the United States and the District of
Columbia has formally recognized Juneteenth in some way. The day is also
celebrated by the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped
from slavery in 1852 and settled in Coahuila, Mexico.
Advocates agree that this recognition is a step toward progress, they feel
more legislation is needed to address police brutality and voting rights.
President Joe Biden signed a bill into law to commemorate June 19,
Juneteenth, as a paid federal holiday to mark the true end of slavery in the
United States.
Opal Lee, 95, a Texan who has advocated for 10 years making Juneteenth a
federally recognized holiday. She is the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’, a
social activist, retired teacher, counselor and author.
The day represents courage, freedom and the journey to equality. Advocates
have requested the federal holiday for years, the turning point came after
protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the George
Floyd incident causing his death. Designating Juneteenth as a holiday is to
raise awareness of an important historical moment to abolish slavery and for
the freedom of slavery.
Biden’s proclamation of Juneteenth Day reads as, “After the Union Army
captured New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Confederate states migrated
to Texas with more than 150,000 enslaved black persons.” Although for
three years and after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation, enslaved black Americans in Texas remained in bondage and
were illegally deprived of their freedom. On Monday, June 19, 1865, Major
General Gordon Granger and Union Army troops marched to Galveston to
enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free the last enslaved black
Americans in Texas. Those freed celebrated on June 19. The proclamation
states, “Today, our Nation commemorates Juneteenth as a chance to
celebrate human freedom, reflects on the grievous and ongoing legacy of
slavery, and rededicates ourselves to rooting out the systemic racism that
continues to plague society as we strive to deliver the promise of America to

every American.” This holiday is used to reflect on slavery and freedom, a
day of both pain and purpose. The day may be spent to remember and
embrace the extraordinary capacity to heal, to hope and to emerge from the
worst moments as a stronger, freer and more ‘just’ Nation. A day to
celebrate the power and resilience of black Americans who have endured
generations of oppression in the ongoing journey toward equal justice,
dignity, rights and opportunities in American.
Biden said, “I was proud to sign bipartisan legislation establishing
Juneteenth as our newest federal holiday.” He stated that great nations do not
ignore their most painful moments, they face them. Then he, as President of
the United States of America signed the proclamation and the signed the bill
for Juneteenth to be a paid federal holiday.
Americans will take the new federal holiday each year on June 19, giving a
time to reflect upon the history of freedom from slavery.


Opal Lee, 94, is a lifelong Texan who has advocated and campaigned to
make June 19 a paid national federal holiday. On Monday, June 20, 2022,
Americans celebrated the new holiday added to the calendar.

About Lexie Jordan