AAMA Applauds Federal Observance of Juneteenth
Published on June 21, 2021
(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, marking the first new federal holiday created since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.
Mayor Sylvester Turner (Houston, TX), president of the African American Mayors Association, issued the following statement applauding the bill’s passage:
“Just as much as Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the emancipation of slavery in America, it is also a day to honor the 400 years of sacrifices Black people made to help build our prosperous nation. As millions of Americans take the day off work to commemorate Juneteenth and reflect on its meaning, we must remember that Juneteenth has been a sacred day for African Americans since 1865. That was when General Granger arrived in Galveston, TX to announce that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, freeing the last of our enslaved ancestors. Juneteenth is also a reminder that our nation cannot heal the deep wounds of its racist past unless and until we recognize the bitter consequences of our history that remain today. To that end, my colleagues and I urge the country to stand in solidarity in vigorous pursuit of expanded voting rights and a criminal justice system that honors the promises of our democracy.”