Group of Democratic senators to propose making Juneteenth national holiday

Group of Democratic senators to propose making Juneteenth national holiday
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMichelle Obama supporters urge Biden to pick former first lady as running mate Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' Harris endorses Democrat in tight California House race MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Senate Democrats will introduce a measure making Juneteenth a national holiday, the same day Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts The Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal MORE (R-Texas) announced he will advance a similar measure.

“Together with my colleagues Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA rule extends life of toxic coal ash ponds | Flint class action suit against Mich. officials can proceed, court rules | Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill MORE, Tina SmithTina Flint SmithCook Political Report shifts several Senate races toward Democrats On The Money: GOP mulls short-term unemployment extension | White House, Senate GOP strike deal on B for coronavirus testing Senate Democrats call for support for pork producers in coronavirus aid package MORE and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Markey offers apology to family of unarmed Black teen amid criticism The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's latest plan on racial inequality MORE, we are proposing that Juneteenth be a national holiday. And we are dropping that bill saying that Juneteenth should be a national holiday,” Harris told MSNBC's Joy Reid on Thursday, announcing the proposal for the first time.

The holiday, celebrated June 19, marks the anniversary of the day Gen. Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to formerly enslaved African Americans in Texas, the final state where the 1863 proclamation was read.

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All but three states mark the date as either a holiday or an observance, and both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoDefending champion Rafael Nadal announces he won't play in US Open New York, New Jersey, Connecticut tweak quarantine list The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Progress slow on coronavirus bill MORE (D) announced they would push for the day to be a state holiday this week. 

Cornyn, meanwhile, announced he will also introduce a bill making the day a national holiday Thursday.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) has introduced corresponding legislation in the House.

“Over the last several weeks, Americans of all races and backgrounds, of all ages, have raised their voice in the fight against inequality and injustice that continues to exist in our society,” Cornyn said in a statement.

“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,” he said. 

The Hill has reached out to Harris’s office for further details.