On June 15, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution stating Juneteenth would become a federal holiday. Social media users have had a lot to say about this moment.
The holiday, celebrated on June 19, marks the ending of slavery in Texas, which was the final state to adhere to its illegality in 1885. In order to have the holiday become law, it needs to pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden. It is honored as a state holiday in Texas and has been since 1980.
Since yesterday’s announcement, critiques and questions have poured, with many wondering if the holiday will be paid, who has a right to celebrate/what those celebrations will look like and if this is merely a weightless, symbolic milestone. With urges for reparations mounting and Florida’s banning of critical race theory, people are asking themselves if this move is simply meant to pacify.
“Imagine making Juneteenth a federal holiday when laws are being enacted all over the country that will prevent people from being taught why it’s a holiday,” wrote journalist Monique Judge on Twitter.
Mainstream interest in Juneteenth was reinitiated last year, following the protests of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and the countless others who were killed by police officers or white supremacists.
Tevon Blair clarified his disdain, saying that he was not upset about the holiday being acknowledged by the federal government, but rather other the fact that the Black community will continue to struggle to have basic needs honored. “I just want to see generational change,” he wrote.
Other users brought up the fact that there has been no movement on making lynching a federal hate crime.
Read more public responses to the news update below.