Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee pushes for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday

HOUSTON – Juneteenth, a holiday started in the state of Texas, is celebrated every year with parades, dancing, singing and remembrance. Now many are pushing for it to become a federal holiday.

“I think it should be. It says a lot about the Emancipation of a group of people who were considered 3/5 human, so I think it should be,” said Michael Merritte of Galveston.

“It commemorates the last of the slaves and freeing them and I think that a major push for making America more progressive,” said student Samhitha Kempaiah of Galveston.

Locally, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee told KPRC 2 she is working on a bill that would be introduced this week pushing for Juneteenth to be recognized nationally.

Ramon Manning, the Board Chair of the Emancipation Park Conservancy, said the late State Rep. Al Edwards of Houston played a big role in getting Juneteenth recognized as a state holiday back in 1980.

“I think he would be happy, but he would also say we still have a lot of work to do,” Manning said. “And just as I think about the role Africans Americans played and helped build this country, it couldn’t have been done without African Americans. So how do you not have this be a national holiday?”

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