Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday after President Biden signs bill in White House ceremony

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden Thursday signed legislation marking Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in Confederate states, as a federal holiday.

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments, they embrace them,” Biden said. “In remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.” 

The president signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the East Room of the White House, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and key lawmakers in the swift passage of the bill.

“We have come far and we have far to go, but today is a day of celebration,”Harris said.

The law took effect immediately after Biden’s signature, meaning that federal workers will be allowed to observe the occasion ahead of Saturday. “As the 19th falls on a Saturday, most federal employees will observe the holiday tomorrow, June 18th,” the U.S. Office of Personnel Management wrote in a tweet.

Juneteenth marks the day when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were notified of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

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