Markey and colleagues joined President Biden and Vice President Harris to sign legislation into law as Biden administration announces federal employees will officially observe the holiday for the first time tomorrow, June 18

Washington (June 17, 2021) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and his colleagues at the White House to sign into law his legislation, the Juneteenth Independence Day Act, which makes Juneteenth a federal holiday. Senator Markey first introduced the legislation in June 2020 with Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) in the House of Representatives. They reintroduced the bill in February and it passed the Congress this week.
“I am humbled to be a part of this momentous day in United States history as our government finally recognizes this part of our history and acknowledges the original sin of slavery,” said Senator Markey. “We honor the indomitable warriors such as Ms. Opal Lee, who have educated, advocated, and celebrated in their decades-long campaign to make Juneteenth a national holiday. This law is an important step forward for racial equality in our country, and as communities celebrate Juneteenth this weekend, it is a clarion call for us to continue the fight for true justice for Black and Brown Americans. We must recommit ourselves to passing substantive voting rights reform to ensure that every person’s voice is heard in our electoral system. We must ensure police accountability and put an end to the cycle of brutality and murder by law enforcement. We must put economic justice, health justice, and environmental justice at the center of all our work. Creating this federal holiday is just one step in our nation’s ongoing journey towards racial justice and liberation.”
“Juneteenth,” observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and is also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which announced that, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, “all slaves are free.”