June 16, 2021

Whitehouse Celebrates Passage of Bill to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today celebrated Senate passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, legislation to designate Juneteenth as a permanent holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. Whitehouse is a cosponsor of the bill, which passed by unanimous consent.

“Juneteenth is a reminder of the progress we’ve made toward a more perfect union, and of the serious work still ahead to rid our society of slavery’s long, lingering shadow,” said Whitehouse. “It is our responsibility as Americans to build a more just and equitable future. Passage of this bill is a step in that direction.”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 – the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to serve notice of the Emancipation Proclamation and announce the freedom of America’s last remaining enslaved people. The news reached Galveston more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and two months after the Confederacy surrendered.

The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Juneteenth has been officially recognized as a state holiday in Rhode Island since 2012. Whitehouse’s office will be closed on Friday, June 18 this year in observance of the holiday.

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