A press release from the Office of State Representative Will Crocker details the unanimous passage on an amendment to H.4802, which would designate Juneteenth Independence Day as an official holiday in the Commonwealth.
Rep. Crocker supports designating Juneteenth Independence Day as an official state holiday
BOSTON – State Representative Will Crocker (R-Centerville) recently joined with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to support designating Juneteenth Independence Day as an official state holiday in Massachusetts.
“I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of this piece of legislation,” said Representative Crocker. “Once again, Massachusetts will be a leader among the states in passing a bill that shines a light on something that has been neglected for far too long. Juneteenth should be shared and celebrated in our Commonwealth."
The proposal was adopted as an amendment to a $1.1 billion supplemental budget approved by the House of Representatives on June 24. The amendment passed on a vote of 158-0.
Juneteenth Independence Day commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Its origins can be traced back to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War was over and the state’s slaves were now free as a result of President Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Massachusetts has observed Juneteenth Independence Day since 2007, but not as a legal holiday. Under current state law, the governor is required annually to “issue a proclamation setting apart the nineteenth of June as Juneteenth Independence Day, to be observed on the Sunday that is closest to June 19th of each year.” The state observance recognizes “the significant contributions individuals of African descent have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States.”
Representative Crocker said that in addition to elevating Juneteenth Independence Day to full holiday status, the House amendment provides for the holiday to be observed on June 19, regardless of the day it falls on.
The amended supplemental budget, with the Juneteenth Independence Day language, now moves to the Senate for further action.