Austin, TX--President Biden signs a law making Juneteenth a federal holiday. While most laws go into effect later, this law goes into effect immediately.
We the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us. Let's make this Juneteenth the first that our nation will celebrate together--One nation a Juneteenth as an action on many fronts one of them being the injustice to make vaccines available for all.
President Biden reminds us about the Sixth Anniversary Mother Emmanuel Church in South Carolina killer, motivated by hate intending to start race war joined his victims in a Bible class then took lives in a house of worship.
In the video, Biden says, "The work to root out hate never ends. Hate only hides, It never fully goes away and when you breathe oxygen under that rock, it comes out... I wish all Americans a Happy Juneteenth."
Although government offices are generally closed on federal holidays, some cannot cease operations with such short notice. CNN reports:
"Agencies should direct such employees to not report to work on Friday -- unless the agency determines that their services are required. If employees are required to work during qualifying holiday hours, they will earn holiday premium pay," the US Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday in a memo. In Austin, vaccine clinics and trash services will continue.
In Austin, the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs will bring scholars together to discuss the importance of Juneteenth.
Austin's Community Impact Newspaper says: "This is the first time the city of Austin will recognize Juneteenth as an official city holiday after passing a resolution last year. All Austin Public Library branches will be closed June 18-19. The Austin Animal Center will also close June 18 but will reopen June 19."
There will be a parade down Chicon Street in East Austin and ending at the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and Chestnut Avenue near Rosewood Park, where an all-day celebration will take place leading to fireworks at 9 p.m.
And the oldest African cemetery in Austin will unveil the first historical market in the neighborhood at the Burditt Prairie Cemetery.
History reminds us President Abraham signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law on January 1, 1863. In effect, all slaves “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” But, in Texas, due to a lack of a Union presence, it took over two years before Texas became aware of the order.
Juneteenth marks the day slaves in Texas learned that they were free. History says, upon arrival in Galveston, TX, Major Gen. Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
In Austin, the Montopolis Community Development Corp President Fredd McGhee said in a release. "With gentrification destroying the heritage of entire Austin neighborhoods, community-based protection, preservation, and perpetual care matter now more than ever."
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