Rhode Island State House

Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) has written to Rhode Island’s congressional delegation urging them to sponsor legislation marking “Juneteenth” as a national holiday. 

“Juneteenth” is celebrated on June 19 and recognizes the day that Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to inform slave owners and the populace that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were to be set free. 

“I am respectfully requesting that you introduce legislation that would recognize June 19, also known as “Juneteenth”, as a Federal holiday, enabling generations of black families and friends to gather and celebrate this monumental day of celebration, reflection, education and most importantly, unity,” wrote Representative Williams in the letter.

“As we are witnessing across the country and the world, the voices of the community of color and its true allies will no longer be silenced and the injustices that continue to be perpetrated against us will not be tolerated, brushed aside, or simply dismissed as unimportant any longer.  Now is the time to step-up and demonstrate to us that we are valued and that we are truly part of this country by declaring ‘Juneteenth’ as a national holiday, affording us the opportunity to celebrate our freedom, culture, and our values,” added Representative Williams.

“It is ironic that this righteous date, a day commemorating our total freedom, is often unable to be properly celebrated because unless it falls on a weekend, employers will not give their employees the day off from work since it is not a Federal holiday.  Your record and accomplishments speak for themselves.  Now is the time to show that you are a true ally of the community of color and to become an instrument of change by introducing legislation to end this dark period of history and give our country’s African-Americans the day of remembrance and celebration that they so rightfully deserve,” concluded Representative Williams.