Juneteenth One Step Closer to Becoming a State Holiday in Michigan
Two years after Juneteenth became a federal holiday, the state of Michigan has moved one step closer to recognizing the annual day of celebration as a full-fledged state holiday.
SEE ALSO: Tragedy Strikes Flint's Juneteenth Celebration
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when Union soldiers declared freedom for enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. The news came two months after the Confederacy surrendered and about two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed people who were slaves here in the United States.
Juneteenth is Already a State Holiday, Sort of
In 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court established Juneteenth as an official court holiday. That means the Michigan court system and its employees observe June 19 as an official holiday but those in the private sector are not affected.
One Step Closer to Becoming an Official State Holiday
On Wednesday (5/17), the Michigan state senate approved legislation to make Juneteenth an official holiday in the state.
State Senator Sylvia Santana led the charge to get the state senate to pass the bill. She tells The Advance that the bill is a major milestone for our state.
“I have been working on this issue throughout my time in the Senate," Santana said. "I am honored to carry on the great work of my legislative predecessors and am so proud to see this bill pass the full Senate — and nearly unanimously.”
Further Approval Needed
The bill to make Juneteenth an official state holiday now heads to the State House for approval.