On Tuesday the Senate voted unanimously to pass legislation making June 19th, known as Juneteenth, a national holiday to celebrate the end of slavery here in the United States.
The bill, created by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Republican Sen. John Cornyn, still needs to be passed by the House and signed by President Biden before it becomes law, however.
"Happy that my bill to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed the Senate. It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years," Cornyn tweeted on Tuesday, "Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union."
This was only made possible after Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, stopped his efforts to prevent the bill from being passed - he later explained that few of his colleagues have an "appetite" to debate it.
Johnson argued it would cost too much to give employees the day off and suggested that another federal holiday be removed to make way for Juneteenth.
No senator objected to unanimous consent, despite some republicans opposing the legislation.
Juneteenth is now a national holiday. pic.twitter.com/r8JiKPGIZR— CAAPA (@caapainc) June 16, 2021
The Juneteenth holiday celebrates June 19th, 1865, when African Americans were emancipated from slavery 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
The day has been celebrated since the late 1800s but now, it seems it's finally getting the recollection it deserves.
Juneteenth gained significantly more momentum last year amid protests following George Floyd's murder...
Several Republican-led states are basically banning teaching kids about things like Juneteenth. So I guess the kids in Texas and Florida will think they have the day off to celebrate that June is a really awesome month.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 16, 2021
There's currently a total of 10 federal holidays here in the U.S and has been almost forty years since the government created the last national holiday, which was: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The holiday would only technically apply to government employees, but employers often give their workers the day off for federal holidays too.
Despite only being passed this year, many major corporations made Juneteenth a paid holiday last year.
We hope this national holiday will soon be passed by the senate!