(AllHipHop News) People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth today. June 19 marks 155 years since Union army general Gordon Granger informed enslaved Black people in Texas that they were now free.
Juneteenth became a national discussion over the last several weeks because this year’s celebration comes as Black Lives Matter protests have sprung up in all 50 states since the murder of George Floyd. While 47 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a day of observance, it is still not recognized on the federal level.
Award-winning R&B/Pop singer Usher is calling for the United States government to formally acknowledge Juneteeth. He wrote an op-ed article for the Washington Post under the headline: “Why it’s so important that Juneteenth become a national holiday.”
I'm sharing an opinion piece I wrote in The @WashingtonPost for Juneteenth which is online now and in print tomorrow. As you celebrate Juneteenth tomorrow, please be loud and proud!! https://t.co/DBPsTdnQxF
— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) June 19, 2020
“We could observe it, as many black Americans already do, by celebrating both our first step toward freedom as black people in America and also the many contributions to this land: the construction of Black Wall Street; the invention of jazz, rock n’ roll, hip-hop and R&B; and all the entrepreneurship and business brilliance, extraordinary cuisine, sports excellence, political power and global cultural influence black Americans have given the world,” wrote Usher.
The Texas-born/Tennesse-bred/Georgia-based musician added, “And rather than observing Juneteenth as we do other holidays, by taking it off, we can make it a day when black culture, black entrepreneurship, and black business get our support. A national Juneteenth observance can affirm that Black Lives Matter!”
Usher also called on the United States Congress to immediately pass legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Democratic senators Kamala Harris of California, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker of New Jersey announced a bill to make June 19 an annual nationwide celebration.
“As we celebrate today, let’s stay open to possibility. Let’s support black-owned businesses today and every day. Let’s uplift our resilient history. Let’s honor our people. Happy Juneteenth, America,” concluded Usher. Read his full opinion piece here.
Juneteenth is a day to remember the millions who died from enslavement in America, and those who survived and fought to end it. And it needs to be a national holiday.
We’re introducing a bill to do just that.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 18, 2020
Juneteenth is the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the US. And it should be recognized as a federal holiday. @SenMarkey, @SenBooker, @SenKamalaHarris and I are introducing a bill to make this happen. More to come.
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) June 18, 2020
Proud to work w/ @SenTinaSmith, @SenBooker, and @SenKamalaHarris to soon introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. June 19, 1865 this nation announced the abolition of slavery. Let’s acknowledge our history and recommit to the struggle for justice. More info to come.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) June 18, 2020