18 Jun Biden Signs the Juneteenth Act Into A Law
US President Joe Biden has signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which establishes a holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the US.
At the signing event, Biden said, “I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have had as president.”
Juneteenth came into existence on June 19th, 1865, when the enslaved African-Americans in Texas were told that they were free. This day began to be known as “Juneteenth”- a word created by joining June and Nineteenth.
The liberation of enslaved people in Texas came after two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation.
The proclamation dictated that all the enslaved people from rebellious states will be declared free. The declaration of this proclamation in Texas is considered the official end of slavery in the US.
Forty-nine states and Washington DC have already declared Juneteenth as an official holiday. South Dakota is yet to declare it.
Though former president Barak Obama was a co-sponsor of this Act, he never signed the Act into the bill during his presidency.
To celebrate Juneteenth, several companies like Nike, Twitter and Uber have announced that June 19th will be a paid off for all employees. States like Virginia and New York have also announced it as a paid holiday for all state employees.
On Wednesday, Biden signed the Act into law when the US House of Representatives backed the law by 415-14. Out of the fourteen Republicans who voted against the bill, one lawmaker from Montana described this legislation as confusing as it might push Americans to pick one out of the two independence days.
The official end of slavery not only did away with racism but also dismantled the laws that were created to separate black people from whites and limit their civil rights.
This year’s Juneteenth celebration is supposed to be different because of the ongoing violence against the Black people. The death and trial of Geoge Floyd and other cases like the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers have stirred many protests since last year.