Craig's Bill Making Juneteenth a State Holiday Clears Legislature
June 28, 2021
Today, state Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) announced that the Ohio General Assembly passed his legislation to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday, after adding it to House Bill 110, the operating budget.
“Commemorating Juneteenth as a paid state holiday will help us honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. It will acknowledge the sacrifices and struggles and celebrate the tenacity and triumphs of Black Americans,” Craig said. “As we celebrate this historic occasion in the years to come, I urge all Ohioans to be mindful of the systemic racism that still impacts our society and continue to stand up and speak out against injustice. While we have come a long way since 1865, we still have a long way to go toward achieving equality for all.”
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in confederate states. On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the official, long overdue end of slavery after the Civil War. This was two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had legally ended slavery within the Confederacy. The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, finally abolished slavery throughout the entire United States. Juneteenth is also a celebration of the heritage, culture and extraordinary achievements of Black Americans in every field of human endeavor.
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday. That action also made Juneteenth a state holiday in Ohio, as the Ohio Revised Code defines state holidays as including “any day appointed and recommended by the governor of this state or the president of the United States.” However, Juneteenth was still not among the state holidays explicitly listed in the Ohio Revised Code. Craig’s amendment to the budget codifies into statute this important day in American history.
The budget bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.