COLUMBUS—State Senators Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) this week introduced Senate Bill 334, which would declare Juneteenth a paid, state holiday in Ohio. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas were told they were free, marking the official end of slavery in the United States.
“This date represents a historic turning point for the nation, especially for people of color, as this was the date that the United States ended the scourge of slavery,” Brenner said. “We as decision-makers must ensure that the fight for racial equality continues in as many ways as possible – observing Juneteenth as a state holiday is just one of those ways.”
There has been a nationwide call to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday to memorialize this crucial step towards racial equality, and other states such as New York and Virginia are moving to make it a state holiday. Although recognized in 47 states including Ohio, Texas is currently the only state where Juneteenth is a state paid holiday.
“Juneteenth will be an annual reminder that although our policies for racial equality have come a long way, it is clear that we have much work to do to overcome the vestiges of systemic racism impacting our state and nation,” said Craig.