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Rep. Bass Issues Statement After Juneteenth National Independence Day Act Signed Into Law

June 17, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) issued the following statement after President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, creating a federal holiday to commemorate Juneteenth.

“For centuries, the sometimes dark history of this country has been sanitized or even flat-out denied. Some state legislative bodies are actively trying to continue those efforts as we speak. Slavery to this day is talked about and discussed as an institution of the distant past -- a mistake that our country has made right and fixed.

“The economy built on slavery permeated throughout the entire nation, not just the South. The truth is, the legacy of slavery lives on and has shaped, in part, the world we live in today. Part of addressing these impacts is understanding the honest history of this country, which is what makes today so important. It's why, this week, I stood in the United States Capitol, which was built by enslaved African Americans, and voted to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

“Juneteenth marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas nearly two and a half years after slavery was outlawed. It has historically been celebrated by African Americans across the country, but now, finally, we celebrate it as a national issue and a national holiday.

“But that doesn't mean taking a break -- we will continue our fight for police reform, for just voting laws, and for social and economic justice in this country.”