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  • Writer's pictureDelegate Andrea Harrison

Governor Signs Bill Making Juneteenth a State Holiday

Approved Legislation of HB-227 to Establish Juneteenth National Independence Day as a State Legal Holiday and State Employee Holiday

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 12, 2022) Today, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law a bill that would establish Juneteenth a legal and employee holiday in the state of Maryland. The bill, HB-227, introduced by Delegate Andrea Fletcher Harrison, passed the House (130-0) and in the Senate (46-0).

The passing of this bill is for the purpose of establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day as a State legal holiday and State employee holiday; repealing the requirement that the Governor declare a certain day as Juneteenth National Freedom Day; and generally relating to Juneteenth National Independence Day.

June 19 marks the 1865 date that people who were enslaved in Texas were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the measure outlawing slavery in Confederate states more than two and a half years earlier, but it was not until 1865 that those remaining in bondage in Texas attained their freedom.

“In the likeness of MLK day, it’s time for us to celebrate this as a paid state holiday no matter your racial identity,” said Delegate Harrison. “The abolishment of slavery didn’t signify the end of racism, but the start of black people’s fight with systematic oppression. The road to equality is long, but Juneteenth should serve as a reminder that current and future generations are the solution. Juneteenth is an important day to recognize, celebrate, observe, and realize we have not properly addressed our past as a state, let alone as a nation.”

Delegate Harrison added, “This is a step that we, as lawmakers, can do to show we recognize, empathize and value the plight of black people in Maryland, and appreciate their past and continued contributions to our great State. Becoming a state holiday will not merely give employees a day off but will give residents a day to think of the future we want while remembering the inequities of the past. It will help us all reflect on how far we have come as a nation and how much more we must do for humankind.”

Click HERE to view the bill.

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