President Joe Biden signed a law to make June a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, as the United States continues to implement changes in the context of racial liquidation.
“Today, we dedicate June Day to what it should be and what it must be-a national holiday,” said Biden, who concluded his first European trip as president on Wednesday.
“This is a very, very important moment in American history. By making June Festival a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day, learn from our history and celebrate our progress,” Biden Say.
Accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden signed the bill at the White House on Thursday, making June 19, commonly known as June 19, National holiday.
“Today is a day worth celebrating,” said Harris, the first black vice president of the United States. “This is not only a proud day, but also a day when we reaffirm and recommit ourselves to action.”
The June festival is to commemorate the last enslaved black Americans who learned of their freedom after the American Civil War between the Confederate slave states in the south and the Liberty Union states in the north.
The Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but it was not until June 19 that Union soldiers brought news of freedom to Galveston, Texas, and the last enslaved black man received the news.
Two and a half years ago, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed American slaves in 1863.
American presidential historian Michael Beschloss praised Biden for signing the bill on Twitter.
June Festival should have become a federal holiday long ago.
-Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 17, 2021
This is the first national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983 to honor the civil rights leaders who were killed.
At the signing ceremony, Biden hugged Opal Lee, a 94-year-old Texan, on one knee. She has been fighting for the June Festival as a national holiday all her life.
“You just got a special commendation from the President of the United States,” Harris joked, applauding the dignitaries gathered at the White House to sign the bill.
June Festival is known as the “Second Independence Day” of the United States. It is an important holiday for African Americans. Black communities in Texas and across the United States celebrate it through prayer breakfasts, civic activities, family gatherings and barbecues.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this week and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 415 to 14 on Wednesday. For many years, black lawmakers in the United States Congress have supported it, led by a black Democratic congressman from Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee (Sheila Jackson Lee).
— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) June 17, 2021
Last year, when George Floyd, a black man, was killed by white police, the United States has reconciled its racist history and widespread protests, so June Festival has become even more important.
Most American states already regard June Festival as a holiday or officially celebrate this day. June Festival is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
According to the new law signed by Biden, the federal holiday will be called June National Independence Day, marking the independence of African Americans from slavery.