Bustos Votes to Establish Juneteenth as Federal Holiday

Bustos Renews Call to Pass Legislation to Promote Equality

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) voted to pass the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which would establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a Federal holiday. The bill, which Congresswoman Bustos is an original cosponsor of, also passed the Senate this week and now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law.

“This Saturday, our nation will commemorate the end of slavery in America,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “It’s fitting we finally establish Juneteenth as a Federal holiday to appropriately recognize the significance of this moment in our nation’s long journey toward freedom and justice for all – a road we still travel today.”

“From brazen attacks on voting rights, to deep disparities in Black maternal health and COVD-19-related care, discrimination in education and beyond, it’s clear we still have work to do to root out systemic racism. As we observe Juneteenth Independence Day, let’s recommit ourselves to building a future that truly upholds our nation’s founding ideals by passing critical legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and Strength in Diversity Act that will bring us closer to equality for all.”

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free – two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863.