In observance of Juneteenth, Ward Law offices will be closed on Friday June 18th.
Celebrated on June 19th, Juneteenth commemorates the date in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned that they had been freed through Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s “General Orders, Number 3.” The day is the oldest commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, but it hasn’t been honored as a holiday or taught in history classes throughout much of the country.
Although an increasing number of states are declaring June 19th a state holiday, Juneteenth is not yet a federal holiday. That will be changing as soon as today as the U.S. Senate has already unanimously voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. It was widely reported that on June 17, 2021, President Biden was set to sign the Juneteenth Bill.
We must establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, not only for an occasion to celebrate the end of slavery, but also to recognize that slavery did occur and that its lasting effects endure to this day. This is especially important as states move to ban acknowledgement of systemic racism in schools. Honoring Juneteenth is a step towards taking ownership of past transgressions, so that our nation may secure justice for the future.