June 16, 2021 Wayne Northey

House approves Juneteenth holiday, sends bill to Biden’s desk

WN: So momentous!

And this announced on Thursday the 17th!:

The federal government will give employees the day off on Friday after President Biden signs a bill making Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in America, a federal holiday.

“Today @POTUS will sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday. As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th,” the Office of Personnel Management tweeted on Thursday.

Read the full story here

excerpt:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas)

Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in America, is finally on the precipice of becoming a federal holiday, as the House on Wednesday passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act by a vote of 415-14.

All 14 “no” votes came from Republicans. Two members did not vote.

“What I see here today is racial divide crumbling, being crushed this day under a momentous vote that brings together people who understand the value of freedom,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), the sponsor of the bill, said at a press conference with other lawmakers shortly before the vote.

Multiple Republicans expressed concern during House floor debate that officially calling the holiday Juneteenth National Independence Day could lead to confusion with Independence Day on July 4.

One Republican, Rep. Matt Rosendale (Mont.), said ahead of the vote that making Juneteenth a federal holiday was “an effort by the left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country,” referring to discussions of systemic racism in schools.

The legislation passed through the Senate with unanimous consent on Tuesday; it now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the date that it falls on, June 19. On that day in 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army issued General Order No. 3 from Galveston, Texas, informing the remaining enslaved people there that they were free.

Please click on: Juneteenth National Independence Day

Then this article appeared June 17 too in Politico:

IS THE MAIL COMING TOMORROW? — If you’re a federal employee, you just got a new day off. Juneteenth, which commemorates the official end of slavery on June 19, 1865, is now the first new federal holiday since 1983, when Congress passed a bill giving federal employees the third Monday in January off in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law today.

In the House, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has been the lead sponsor of a bill that would add Juneteenth to the list of federal holidays. She talked to Nightly’s Renuka Rayasam about how she’s celebrating this year. This interview has been edited.

How should people who are new to the holiday celebrate?

They celebrate it as an American, a day of freedom for people who live among them today, who had a history that most people could not imagine. They should also celebrate because every family has had a moment in their life to overcome whatever their history may be. They may be Irish or Italian. They may have inherited a British history, Caribbean history, an African history or South and Central American history. Let them honor the fact that slavery was an original sin, that freedom for slaves is a moment of reckoning in America to do what is right. Let it be a day of righteousness, a day of happiness and a day of embracing your fellow brother and sister. Find a Juneteenth celebration and join it because they will be welcomed and they will love it.

How did you feel about the Senate passing the bill by unanimous consent without a single objection?

The moment is special because we’ve gone through so much. On Jan. 6, there were people who, in addition to the violence, carried the Confederate flag and used racial epithets. But yet we come together in unity to be able to acknowledge the importance of a day that speaks to freedom, not only for the slaves, but also that we are a nation that supports freedom and non-divisiveness.

Here we have a southern Republican senator, a southern African American woman and a New Englander from Boston, Massachusetts come together, along with other members and say, America is better than that. That America can be unified around understanding our history.

How will you celebrate the holiday this year?

I will be in Galveston. We’ll be doing an art installation dedication, the Juneteenth Legacy Project. I’m excited to be in the very location where General Granger was, as well as to see people who are actually descendants of that moment. It’ll be a big celebration.

Please click on: IS THE MAIL COMING TOMORROW?

Wayne Northey

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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