Biden and Harris speak out at signing of Juneteenth Federal Holiday Bill | KCUR 89.3
Updated June 17, 2021 3:47 p.m. ET
President Biden will sign a bill on Thursday recognizing Juneteenth – the celebration to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States – as a federal holiday.
He and Vice President Harris commented on the matter. Watch the event live here.
Biden’s signing comes after the measure passed through both houses of Congress earlier this week, with no opposing votes in the Senate and only slight Republican dissent in the House of Representatives.
June 19 is celebrated annually on June 19 to mark the date on which some of Confederation’s last slaves became free.
While President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 to free slaves in the Confederate States, it was not until two and a half years later that many blacks still held in slavery in Texas learned that the order had freed them.
Texas’s isolation from the rest of the country and the remote landscape made it difficult for Union soldiers to get the message across as quickly as they could elsewhere.
Federal recognition of Juneteenth is one of many attempts by the Biden administration to reconcile America’s dark and troubled past with racial minorities, particularly African Americans.
As a candidate, Biden acknowledged the systemic racism that since the founding of the country has undermined fundamental institutions of personal success, including the housing market, criminal justice and environmental concerns.
When he took office in January, Biden inherited a nation on the brink, with protests and counter-demonstrations against social issues such as the use of force by police threatening to erode society. public confidence and roll back some of the progress the nation has made in its conversations about race. the last decades.
While Biden has faced harsh criticism from his party’s left wing for not doing enough to meaningfully address the concerns of black Americans, Republicans – after four years as a flag bearer that stoked racial animosity and civil discord – accused Biden of bowing to special interest groups at the expense of the unity of a deeply divided nation.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.