PPI Statement on the Federal Recognition of JuneTeenth

Today, PPI President Will Marshall released the following statement on the federal recognition of JuneTeenth:

Happy Juneteenth!

With uncharacteristic dispatch this week, Congress passed and President Biden signed a new a bill establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday. It happened so quickly that PPI wasn’t quite prepared to observe it properly, but we will henceforth be closed for business on Juneteenth to commemorate this important date in U.S. history.

On June 19, 1865, Union Army Maj. General Gordon Granger proclaimed the liberation of 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas. This reminds us that slavery was the evil which sparked the Civil War. It also reminds us that hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers died to preserve the Union and make real the promise of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

We were gratified and somewhat surprised to see the Juneteenth holiday approved overwhelmingly in Congress, a rare sign of political concord in these fraught times. But we can’t help noting a perverse irony: While most Congressional Republicans supported the bill, their counterparts in Texas and many other red states are working hard to make it harder for black citizens to vote.

This is an obscenity, and we hope the decent people of those states and their representatives in Congress will rally to stop and repeal these unAmerican anti-voting laws.

About PPI:

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) is a catalyst for policy innovation and political reform based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to create radically pragmatic ideas for moving America beyond ideological and partisan deadlock. Learn more about PPI by visiting progressivepolicy.org.

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