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 HarrisKamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Senate Democrats will introduce a measure making Juneteenth a national holiday, the same day Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) announced he will advance a similar measure.

“Together with my colleagues Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE, Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Democrats scramble for climate alternatives MORE and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDozens of Democrats call for spending bill to pass 'climate test' Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending House passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure 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 CuomoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Hochul gets early boost as NY gubernatorial race takes shape EMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul 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.