United States President Joe Biden has signed a law that makes Juneteenth – an annual celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the country – a federal holiday. Biden’s signing came a day after a congressional vote to that effect, with 415 in favor and 14 against.
Juneteenth (from June, june, and nineteen, nineteenth) is an annual event that commemorates the end of slavery in the country. On this date, in fact, in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced to the slaves that the civil war was over and slavery abolished, so they were free people. Juneteenth, celebrated for more than 150 years especially within the African American community, had been talked a lot in 2020, following the protests triggered by the death of George Floyd.
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The law will take effect immediately and therefore this year will already be a federal holiday. Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday decided in the United States since the decision to establish Martin Luther King Day in 1983. As this year June 19th is a Saturday, it has already been announced that many federal employees will be able to celebrate the anniversary on Friday June 18.
“I have only been president for a few months,” Biden said, signing the law that makes Juneteenth a national holiday, “but I think that, for me, this will remain one of my greatest honors as president.”