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Juneteenth to become U.S. Federal Holiday after bill passes through U.S. House, Senate

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Posted at 11:00 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 23:27:29-04

KILLEEN, TX — Ronnie Russell with the Black Innovations Chamber of Commerce has celebrated Juneteenth for years.

“Juneteenth really originated here in the state of Texas. It’s apparent to all of the states to learn what Juneteenth is about, it’s a true celebration of the freedom of all people,” said Innovation Black Chamber Of Commerce Founder Ronnie Russell.

His organization holds events annually to recognize the holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

“I didn’t know until I came to the state of Texas and now that I know I care that responsibility to letting others know who come after me about Juneteenth,” said Russell.

Russell even tried to get the City of Killeen to fly the Juneteenth flag during the upcoming weekend, but the City Council voted the idea down last month.

Soon, though Juneteenth will be recognized as a federal holiday.

“It’s very important. I was so excited when I learned of it,” said Texas A&M University-Central Texas Student Success, Equity & Inclusion Access & Accommodations Coordinator Talisha Simpson

“Now it’s all people recognizing that this is for all of us,” said Russell.

The legislation passed through the U.S. House on Wednesday, a day after unanimously sailing through the U.S. Senate. Simpson said it’s about time.

“I think acknowledging the history is really important to celebrate it and also honors the lives of those who are actually affected by slavery,” said Simpson.

The bill will be sent to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature, which could happen any day.

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