Sen. Kamala Harris introducing bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday

Republican Senator John Cronyn also released a statement encouraging Congress to make the end of slavery a national holiday

Sen. Kamala Harris
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

Senate Democrats are pushing to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Senator Kamala Harris announced the proposal on Thursday.

“Together with my colleagues Cory Booker, Tina Smith, and Ed Market, we are proposing that Juneteenth be a national holiday,” Harris said, “And we are dropping that bill saying that Juneteenth should be a national holiday.”

READ MORE: Trump claims he made Juneteenth ‘very famous’

Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee has introduced corresponding legislation in the House of Representatives.

Harris’ announcement, delivered to the world on MSNBC’s AM Joy, was made on the same day that Republican Senator John Cronyn released a statement also supporting the creation of a national holiday marking the end of the enslavement of Africans in America.

Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, wrote in a statement that establishing June 19 as a national holiday would be “an opportunity to reflect on our history, the mistakes we have made, but yet how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and a reminder of just how far we still have to go.”


Circa 1830: A slave auction in America. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The Senator, who is up for re-election in November, also stated “as the list of Black men and women killed by police officers in custody grows, the calls for action are getting louder and louder, as they must, and as they should. There is a clear and urgent need for leaders at every level to come together and to deliver the change that we need to deliver, in order to match up with our ideals.”

READ MORE: NFL to celebrate Juneteenth as official league holiday

In the last few weeks, corporations like Nike and General Motors have introduced new company edicts observing Juneteenth. This year’s racial strife and the impact of the coronavirus on African Americans has made the holiday increasingly important.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, President Donald Trump said that he “made Juneteenth very famous,” that it was an important holiday that “no one had ever heard of.”

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