Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris says she is working to introduce bills in Congress to officially recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. Sens. Tina Smith, Ed Markey, and Cory Booker are also working on the bill.
Pool / Getty ImagesHarris discussed the importance of Juneteenth in USA Today: "Inequity seeps throughout our education system. It affects access to good-paying jobs with a living wage, affordable housing, capital for small businesses, high-quality and affordable health care, and so many more issues. The more people who understand our country’s problems, the more people can name it and the more people can help fix it.
"On Juneteenth, we reflect on the past and rejoice in the progress made. On this day, we recognize the hard-fought road that led to the emancipation of enslaved people and recommit ourselves to America’s promise of equal justice for all."
New York, Virginia, Oregon and Philadelphia each took the steps to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday this week. Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota are the only states yet to recognize the holiday.
Harris went on to share a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
"Let us unite behind legislation that will right historical wrongs and confront the challenges we face today. And let us never lose hope that change will come," she concluded.