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Quigley Statement in Recognition of Juneteenth

Jun 16, 2021
Press Release

Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) released a statement in recognition of Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19 of each year:

“Juneteenth celebrates the date that the last slaves were freed in the United States, finally ending one of the original sins of our democracy. Last summer, amidst months of grief and powerful action, our entire nation was provided with the opportunity to re-examine our history. That reflection, coupled with the recent 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, has made it clear that our country must do more to acknowledge the legacy of Black Americans. Celebrating Juneteenth as a shared national holiday is just one of the many steps we can take in honor of that legacy.

“In recognition of the need to make our federal calendar more inclusive and in light of recent action taken by the state of Illinois to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday, my office and I will be observing Juneteenth this year and each year from now on. I am glad the Senate passed legislation making Juneteenth a holiday this week and I look forward to its imminent passage by the House. Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans for over 150 years and it is long past time that we all honor this piece of Black and American history.”

Quigley’s Washington, D.C., and Chicago offices will be closed on Friday, June 18, 2021, in recognition of Juneteenth and the movement to have the date added to the federal holiday calendar. This week, Quigley cosponsored H.R. 1320, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, to establish “Juneteenth Independence Day” as a federal holiday and became an original cosponsor of the 2021 Observance of Juneteenth Independence Day Resolution, which recognizes the historical significance of Juneteenth and underscores that celebration of the end of slavery is an important piece of U.S. history.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, honors the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans in the United States and is commemorated on the date when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and shared news of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after the proclamation was signed.