Santana bill would make Juneteenth state holiday

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) has introduced legislation that would establish “Juneteenth,” or June 19, as a state-recognized holiday.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“For hundreds of years, native Africans were shuttled to the countries and colonies of the West and were bonded and enslaved, and the ending of this dark period of our nation’s history should be celebrated in our state,” Sen. Santana said. “The events of the past few weeks have brought to bear the wounds of our past once more, showing us how far we have yet to go towards a truly just and equitable society for all. With this bill, let us recognize the ending of slavery and the beginning of a movement of equal rights for every American.”

The city of Detroit is holding a weeklong celebration in honor of the emancipation. The week’s events will end with a Freedom Rally in Spirit Plaza at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 19. The city also joins local organizations, like the Detroit Lionsand Quicken Loans, who have offered employees paid time off for celebration. 


Sen. Sylvia Santana represents the 3rd Senate District in Wayne County that includes the cities of Dearborn, Detroit, and Melvindale.

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