Last week, Sen. John Cornyn proposed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The proposal failed, but we expect it to succeed when Cornyn tries again. And we hope he will.
Juneteenth remembers June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery more than two years earlier.
There is much public support for this measure. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. Texas was the first to do so in 1980. The idea has wide support among lawmakers too. Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston has proposed a similar measure in the House, where more than 150 members have signed on as co-sponsors. Cornyn teamed with Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, to write the bill, and requested its adoption on July 22 by unanimous consent in the Senate.
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