Congress Votes To Make Juneteenth A Federal Holiday: What To Know About June 19th

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After passing the Senate and the House, it’s up to President Joe Biden to sign the Juneteenth bill. We’ll explain how the holiday got its start, what it signifies and how you can observe the day.

Congress on Wednesday passed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday — the Senate approved the bill on Tuesday and the House followed suit on Wednesday. It’s now up to President Joe Biden to sign the bill to officially make it law. The June 19 holiday is recognized in 47 states, but only eight states consider it a paid holiday. Despite going back to 1865, Juneteenth gained significant national attention in 2020, after the deaths of George FloydBreonna TaylorAhmaud ArberyRayshard Brooks and others sparked Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systematic violence aimed at Black Americans.

Juneteenth — a portmanteau of the date it’s celebrated — marks the freedom of enslaved Black people in the US. It’s also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. Observed by millions of Black Americans, it’s commemorated to some degree in nearly every US state. Major companies such as Spotify, Twitter and Lyft added Juneteenth to their calendars for the first time in 2020. Google made Juneteenth an official calendar holiday, too. (Apple’s calendar already


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