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Juneteenth holiday on its way to becoming nationally recognized

Executive director of Martin Luther King Jr. Coordinating Committee welcomes change
Posted at 9:40 PM, Jun 16, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Juneteenth is on its way to becoming the 12th national holiday. It's a recognition for which Edith Bush has been striving for years.

"It is just really exciting that this is becoming a national holiday," she said.

Bush is the executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Coordinating Committee in West Palm Beach. She said making Juneteenth a national holiday will enlighten others about the African American condition.

"You have got to educate the community about what's going on," she said. "I think that's what Juneteenth is going to bring out."

Once signed by President Joe Biden, Juneteenth becomes the first new federal holiday since 1983 and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

June 19 will formally be recognized as a day that commemorates the end of slavery and the emancipation of African-Americans in the U.S.

Omari Hardy is a member of the Florida House of Representatives serving the 88th District. He said it's great that Juneteenth is going to be a national holiday but said more work needs to be done.

"I will take the Juneteenth holiday, but I would more readily accept a voting rights package out of the United States Senate," he said.

Hardy wants to see federal legislation positively impacting people of color across the nation.

"Juneteenth is a feel-good issue and it's important, it's symbolic and passes unanimously," he said. "I want to see the Senate act decisive about things that matter substantively as they are about things symbolically."

Many Black folks have celebrated Juneteenth for decades. It's been a state holiday in Texas for 40 years, and 46 other states, including the District of Columbia, celebrate it in some form or fashion.

Bush said many people don't know Black people had a hand in creating Memorial Day.

"So, let's teach these things that we had a part of," she said.