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 HarrisTrump fights for battleground Arizona Biden to air 90-minute radio programs targeting Black voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden's big battleground | Trump and Harris hit the trail in Arizona | Turnout surges among new voters MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Senate Democrats will introduce a measure making Juneteenth a national holiday, the same day Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCook moves Texas to 'toss-up' Biden pushes into Trump territory Cruz: Hunter Biden attacks don't move 'a single voter' MORE (R-Texas) announced he will advance a similar measure.

“Together with my colleagues Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE, Tina SmithTina Flint SmithGOP sees path to hold Senate majority Minnesota Senate candidate Jason Lewis discharged from hospital The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump strips protections for Tongass forest, opening it to logging | Interior 'propaganda' video and tweets may violate ethics laws, experts say | Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks 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.


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 CuomoJustice Department expands inquiry into NY nursing home COVID-19 death count What a Biden administration should look like Rand Paul rips 'leftwing media' for focusing on COVID-19 cases: 'Mortality rates are plummeting' 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.