WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith celebrated the fourth year that Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday in the United States. The annual holiday celebrates the date that news of emancipation of slaves in the South reached Galveston, Texas, two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Senator Smith’s bill establishing the holiday was signed into law by President Biden in June, 2021. 

Smith helped introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution this week for the legislative body to commemorate the date. She celebrated Juneteenth in Minnesota at the Northside Juneteenth Festival Celebration on June 15th.

“The end of slavery in this country is a critical milestone in our history, and Juneteenth should be commemorated nationwide as a day of celebration, reflection, and rededication to the cause of racial justice,” said Senator Smith. “I am forever grateful to the generations of activists who made this possible. Commemorating Juneteenth as a federal holiday is an encouraging and deeply meaningful step – but we have much farther to go on the path towards justice. In the meantime, I hope Minnesotans find a time to celebrate the progress we’ve made and recommit themselves to the work that lies ahead.”

Senator Smith gave a floor speech following the Senate’s passage of her bill in 2021. You can read her full remarks here or view/download them here