Shaheen Statement on Juneteenth Becoming a Federal Holiday

June 17, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after President Biden signed legislation into law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday: 

“This is a long overdue and historic day,” said Shaheen. “It is past time that our nation established Juneteenth as a federal holiday to signify the end of slavery in the United States. I supported legislation in the Senate to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday because it is incumbent on all of us to never forget the painful legacy of slavery, the brave souls who fought and died to abolish it and the urgent need to finish the work to dismantle systemic racism that persists today. Juneteenth provides us the opportunity to highlight the lives, experiences and contributions of African-American individuals who have been shamefully excluded from our nation’s history. We must right that wrong. This holiday not only reminds us of our past but drives us to build a more equal, just and inclusive future.” 

Shaheen helped introduce legislation in the Senate last year to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday. To mark the 20th anniversary of New Hampshire’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, last year,?Senator Shaheen honored the occasion and celebrated the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?with a?Congressional Record statement.? As Governor of New Hampshire, Shaheen fought for passage of, and signed, a resolution to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New Hampshire – the last state in the nation to do so. In the statement, Shaheen paid tribute to the late Reverend Dr. Arthur Hilson, whose powerful advocacy helped progress the resolution through the New Hampshire legislature.