Norton House Floor Statement on Bill to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

Jun 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the day the House voted to make June 19th, known as Juneteenth, a National Holiday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said Juneteenth should remind Congress that the District is still a federally controlled jurisdiction, and it is time for the residents of the nation’s capital to finally become equal to other Americans by achieving statehood and voting representation in Congress.

“Juneteenth should remind Congress that it’s time for the first to be freed to finally become equal to other Americans,” Norton said. “The House understands that with its passage of the D.C. statehood bill.  So does the Senate, with a hearing on our D.C. statehood bill scheduled for next Tuesday, June 22.”

Norton’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.

 

Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

on S. 475, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

June 16, 2021

Today’s bill making Juneteenth, when the last slaves got word that slavery had ended, a federal holiday has unique meaning for the District of Columbia because the slaves here were the first, not the last, to be freed.  The reason, of course, is that the District was and is a federally controlled jurisdiction.  The District celebrates the emancipation of slaves here on April 16 every year.

Juneteenth should remind Congress that it’s time for the first to be freed to finally become equal to other Americans.  The House understands that with its passage of the D.C. statehood bill.  So does the Senate, with a hearing on our D.C. statehood bill scheduled for next Tuesday, June 22.

With the President, the House, and the Senate all believing that the residents of their nation’s capital should in every way be equal to other Americans, we rejoice this Juneteenth knowing that we are close to adding the 51st star to the flag.

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