US House votes to make Juneteenth a federal holiday; already a state holiday in New Jersey
The U.S. will soon have a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery – Juneteenth.
The House voted 415-14 Wednesday to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law Thursday afternoon.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, a full two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the southern states.
Juneteenth is already a state holiday in New Jersey and will be celebrated Friday for the very first time.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement, “We must use this day to take stock of where we are as a nation in achieving true equality for all Americans, especially the Black and Brown Americans who have lived with the vestiges of systemic racism.”
All MVC offices will be closed Friday in observance of the holiday, although inspections will be open. There will also be commemorations happening all around the state this weekend.