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Senators Gillibrand and Wicker announce "Juneteenth Independence Day" to recognize end of slavery in U.S.

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) today announced the passage of their resolution designating June 19, 2018, as "Juneteenth Independence Day," in recognition of June 19, 1865, the day slavery legally came to an end in the United States.

"Every year on Juneteenth we celebrate Emancipation, recognize the work left to do, and continue our commitment to a more equal future for all. Juneteenth is a holiday for all of us to observe the end of slavery, and to joyfully celebrate freedom with a shared sense of responsibility, inspiration, and encouragement," said Senator Gillibrand. "I am proud to have worked in the Senate with over 45 of my colleagues to pass my resolution commemorating 'Juneteenth Independence Day'."

"Juneteenth is a landmark occasion in our nation's history – when the remaining slaves in this country were emancipated," said Senator Wicker. "It is a day to remember our nation's past and a day to commemorate the work that has been done over the past 150 years toward ensuring freedom, equality, and justice for every American. I am proud to have introduced this resolution in the Senate, working with my colleagues to give this holiday the national recognition it deserves."

The full text of the resolution is below and can be found HERE:

Resolution 547: Designating June 19, 2018, as ''Juneteenth Independence Day'' in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which slavery legally came to an end in the United States.

Whereas news of the end of slavery did not reach the frontier areas of the United States, in
particular the State of Texas and the other Southwestern States, until months after the conclusion of the Civil War, more than 21⁄2 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863;

Whereas, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in
Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were free;

Whereas African-Americans who had been slaves in the Southwest celebrated June 19,
commonly known as ''Juneteenth Independence Day'', as inspiration and encouragement for future generations;

Whereas African-Americans from the Southwest have continued the tradition of observing
Juneteenth Independence Day for over 150 years;

Whereas 45 States and the District of Columbia have designated
Juneteenth Independence Day as a special day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States;

Whereas Juneteenth Independence Day celebrations have been held to honor African-
American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures;

Whereas the faith and strength of character demonstrated by former slaves and the 
descendants of former slaves remain an example for all people of the United States, regardless of background, religion, or race;

Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States in December 1865; and

Whereas, over the course of its history, the United States has grown into a symbol of
democracy and freedom around the world: Now, therefore, be it

1 Resolved, That the Senate—
2 (1) designates June 19, 2018, as ''Juneteenth
3 Independence Day'';
4 (2) recognizes the historical significance of
5 Juneteenth Independence Day to the United States;
1 (3) supports the continued nationwide celebration of Juneteenth Independence Day to provide an
3 opportunity for the people of the United States to
4 learn more about the past and to better understand
5 the experiences that have shaped the United States;
6 and
7 (4) recognizes that the observance of the end of
8 slavery is part of the history and heritage of the
9 United States.