HOUSTON – Juneteenth is a big deal in Texas and interest in the holiday is growing across the nation.
Texas has officially celebrated Juneteenth since 1980, but the country — amid widespread protests following the death of George Floyd, among others, at the hands of police — appears to show interest now in a national Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when news finally reached enslaved people in Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves living in Confederate states two years earlier. Juneteenth is also called Emancipation Day and Freedom Day. Read more here about the holiday’s history.
Support for Juneteenth as a holiday has spread to Virginia, with the governor there, Ralph Northam, announcing he’s making Juneteenth a state holiday. As the Associated Press noted in its reporting, that’s a move made by a state that was once home of the former capital of the Confederacy.
In addition to petitions and official changes to calendars, companies are also making Juneteenth a holiday to be celebrated, adding names to a social media campaign called #HellaJuneteenth. Here are some of the companies listed in the campaign: