President Biden signed an act designating June 19 as the Juneteenth National Independence Day. Juneteenth is the day that signifies the awareness of abolition reaching enslaved men and women in Texas, two years after the United States acted to abolish slavery.
In so doing, he remarked that Juneteenth "marks both a long hard night of slavery and subjugation and a promise for a brighter morning to come." He called it a "day of profound weight and profound power," and said that the passage of the Act makes us "remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take," calling slavery "America's original sin."
He called the creation of a second independence day "one of the greatest honors" he "will have had as President."
Speaking to the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said that the holiday "will be a day of remembrance as well as a day of celebration."
Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts also voted in favor of the Act, and said of its passage that "we join together to celebrate a momentous day in American history. A step forward for racial equality and a clarion call for us to do even more."
Markey said the holiday would be a reminder of "our nation’s ugly past," and a call to "re-commit to fixing the injustices which our country still faces." Markey said the day is an opportunity “come to grips with our nation's original sin of slavery." He went further to claim that "inequality and injustice for black Americans today" is actually getting worse
For Markey, Juneteenth National Independence Day is about systemic racism. He claimed that the day "reflects the unfulfilled promise of a nation built upon the notion that all are created equal, and it has its roots in our nation's original sin: slavery, a crime against humanity that we have for far too long failed to full acknowledge, address and come to grips with."
The day, he said, "acknowledges the pain and the suffering of generations of slaves and their descendants, and it finally celebrates their freedom."
Rep. Paul Gosar, of Arizona, was one of 14 House Republicans to vote against the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. He said that "Our country is divided, and the cultural and political Marxists are continuing their relentless efforts to divide this country further," he wrote, noting that this fake new independence day is the further nationalization of critical race theory.
"I cannot support efforts that furthers racial divisions in this country. We have one Independence Day, and it applies equally to all people of all races," Gosar said.
Montana Rep. Matt Rosendale said he voted against the bill because the newly named Juneteenth National Independence Day "is the culmination of decades of efforts by the Left to prevent unashamed celebrations of our national story, heritage, and history." Rosendale said that the day would "inevitably focus on America's darkest moments."
"We're not perfect as a country," Rosendale wrote, "but we are a great nation, morally, economically, culturally, and in many other ways besides. I will never support efforts to pull down that legacy and replace it with self-hatred."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sees the enacting of the Juneteenth National Independence Day as a call to action to address equity, not equality. He is using it to address wealth disparities between racial groups.