Florida Senate Adopts Juneteenth Memorial
Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami), wants to raise the profile of Juneteenth tin Florida and make it a national holiday. The date marks the day the last slaves were freed in Texas and widely celebrated in the South.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, freeing enslaved African-Americans. But those in Texas would find out two years later since slave owners withheld the news. That date became known as Juneteenth.
“This is something we need to keep at the forefront so I was happy to file it," Pizzo said. "Again, it’s something you learn about when you’re engaged in civics and it’s something we definitely should recognize."
Pizzo says "less important dates" are already designated as state and federal holidays and he's filed a memorial bill to ask Congress to add Juneteenth to the list.
This year marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. At present, 45 states and the District of Columbia celebrate the day as a holiday or observance. Texas was the first state to make it a state holiday.
The memorial was approved by the Florida Senate on Feb. 12, which coincided with President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. A House version of the proposal has yet to be heard.