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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 12, 2020 03:37 PM
From: Senator Sharif Street and Sen. John P. Blake, Sen. Lisa M. Boscola, Sen. James R. Brewster, Sen. Maria Collett, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman, Sen. Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr., Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Sen. Art Haywood, Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. Pam Iovino, Sen. Timothy P. Kearney, Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. John P. Sabatina, Jr., Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, Sen. Judith L. Schwank, Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione, Sen. Anthony H. Williams, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution Recognizing June 19, 2020 as “Juneteenth” in Pennsylvania
In the near future, we plan to introduce a resolution recognizing June 19, 2020 as “Juneteenth” in Pennsylvania.

These past few weeks have brought a new urgency to the conversation about race in America. We have seen millions of Americans take to the streets, bringing much needed attention to historic injustices and the way they have impacted, and continue to impact, American society. In times like these, it is even more imperative to recognize the importance of our history and the way it has framed our country since its founding. Juneteenth is a monumental day in the annals of American history and deserves recognition now and into the future. 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day on which the last of the enslaved people located in Galveston, Texas were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is one of the oldest African-American holiday observances in the United States, and it began as a celebration to experience the jubilation and reassurance that came with the end of the Civil War for people who were enslaved, and quickly spread from Galveston to the rest of the United States. The holiday is celebrated in a variety of ways, from games and activities like baseball, rodeo, and barbecues, to guest speaker events that focus on education, self-improvement, and prayer.

Juneteenth is recognized as a holiday observance in over 40 states, including Pennsylvania, as a way to acknowledge the past and celebrate the present. It has enjoyed a tremendous growth rate in recent years, and a number of Juneteenth organizations have taken part in spreading this important tradition throughout the United States. The holiday today seeks to proliferate the ideas of self-improvement, the celebration of African culture, and respect for all cultures. This day of pride is incredibly significant to many Pennsylvanians, and as such, it deserves to be recognized in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

We encourage members to join us in co-sponsoring the resolution.

Introduced as SR336