Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing legislation that would designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Currently, Juneteenth is celebrated by 47 states, including Maine.
“Since the first celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day in 1865, communities throughout the country have continued to commemorate the end of slavery and the conclusion of a dark chapter in our nation’s history,” said Senator Collins. “Juneteenth should be designated as a federal holiday, and I encourage my colleagues to support this important legislation that serves as an inspiration and encouragement for future generations to never stop working toward the American ideal of equality.”
“On June 19th, 1865, a Union General arrived in Galveston, Texas to tell the slaves there that they were free – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation gave them their freedom,” said Senator King. “Since that date, Juneteenth has become both a day of celebration and a reminder that our nation is only a few generations removed from the evil sins of slavery. As we continue to extend our ideals of freedom and equal justice under the law to all Americans, it is past time to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday.”
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution co-sponsored by Senators Collins and King commemorating June 19, 2020, as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” the observance of the end of slavery in the United States.
The legislation was also introduced by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Patty Murray (D-WA), James Risch (R-ID), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Todd Young (R-IN).