A federal Juneteenth holiday passes Senate with unanimous approval

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WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 19: People celebrate Juneteenth at “Moechella,” a go-go music event, on June 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general read orders in Galveston, Texas stating all enslaved people in Texas were free according to federal law. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Juneteenth moved one step closer to becoming a federal holiday after a measure supporting it unanimously passed the Senate Tuesday.

Several states over the last several years have adopted Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the abolishment of slavery, as a statewide holiday. It is celebrated on June 19 to represent the day enslaved Black people in Texas were freed by federal troops.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn sponsored the bill and tweeted after its passage, “Happy that my bill to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday just passed the Senate. It has been a state holiday in Texas for more than 40 years. Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more perfect union.”

Last year, states including Virginia and New York formally recognized the day as a holiday. Louisiana and Illinois are the most recent states to move forward legislation making it an official state holiday.

Though not every state recognizes it as a formal holiday with a paid day off and a school holiday.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson was the hold out on the Senate passing the legislation, but he dropped his objections Tuesday allowing its passage.

The measure next needs to pass the House of Representatives before it would head to President Joe Biden’s desk.

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