Wednesday, July 6

Biden signs a bill to make Emancipation Day a federal holiday


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The president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the vice president Kamala Harris, have signed a bill to convert June 19 (“Juneteenth”) or Emancipation Day on a holiday federal as it commemorates the end of legal slavery for African Americans.

The bill, whichwas approved by an overwhelming majorityby the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday after a unanimous vote in the Senate, marking the day in 1865 when a Union general reported to a group of slaves in Texas who had been freed two years earlier by the proclamation of Emancipation of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

“Emancipation Day marks both a long and hard night of subjugation from slavery and the promise of a brighter morning,” Biden said. He said the day is a reminder of the “terrible toll that slavery had on the country and continues to cause.”

Biden said that “great nations do not ignore their most painful moments … they embrace them.” He spoke to a room packed with about 80 members of Congress, local elected officials, community leaders and activists like Opal Lee, who campaigned to make “Juneteenth” a public holiday.

The legislation, now passed to President Joe Biden for ratification, has gained notoriety after the strong protests registered in the country against racism and police brutality, framed in the movement Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter) after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers.

The text has been supported by 415 congressmen against voting against 14 others, all of them Republicans. The Republican Senator from Wisconsin Ron Johnson had blocked the measure in 2020, considering that the holiday would cost taxpayers millions of dollars, according to information from CNN.

However, Johnson has now withdrawn his objections, paving the way for passage of the resolution in the Senate. “Although I support celebrating emancipation, I objected because of the cost and lack of debate,” Johnson said.

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