On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to officially declare Juneteenth as a national holiday. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, which will determine whether Juneteenth will become the 11th annual federal holiday.
Observed on June 19th, Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, marks the end of slavery––honoring the date in 1865 where slaves in Galvenston, Texas became free. In recent years especially, Juneteenth has been celebrated all throughout the country in the form of festivals, educational events, parades, and cookouts.
The bill was first introduced last spring by Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee in the midst of the severe racial tension that followed the slaying of George Floyd, but significant support for the bill failed at that time.
“It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years,” said Cornyn in a tweet. “Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.”