On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed a bill marking Juneteenth, the official end of slavery, as a national holiday. That means Boca will join many companies in closing on Friday, June 18, since the actual Juneteenth day is June 19, a Saturday.
In 1865, union soldiers led by Gen. Gordon Granger freed slaves in Galveston, Texas, under General Order. No. 3. The slaves gained their freedom, but that was two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. At a White House signing ceremony, Vice President Kamala Harris noted that President Biden would be signing the bill steps away from where President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
In a sign of hope for healing, the Senate passed the Juneteenth bill unanimously on Tuesday, and the House approved the plan 415-14. The last time the government established a federal holiday was Martin Luther King Day on Nov. 20, 1983.
“National holidays are something important,” Harris said at the White House signing ceremony. “These are days when we as a nation have decided to stop and take stock, and often to acknowledge our history.”
Before signing the bill, Biden said, “By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we’ve come, but the distance we have to travel to.”
Boca was one of the first companies to honor the Juneteenth holiday in 2020, one year before it became official. We are proud that the holiday has now become a reality.
Prior to Juneteenth becoming official, some cities like Atlanta and Washington would hold parades and festivals, and celebrations would occur in backyards. After the deaths of Black Americans such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, people grew more interested in Juneteenth as a day to mark freedom, The New York Times noted. The day also holds other names such as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Emancipation Day” and “Freedom Day.”
Although this day should have become official a long time ago, Biden noted that this is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and move forward.
“Great nations don’t walk away,” Biden said. “We come to terms with the mistakes we’ve made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger. “
Boca joins the rest of the country in wishing Americans a happy Juneteenth. We welcome Juneteenth in the country’s culture and BOCA’s culture – #BOCALife.
Enjoy the day!
The BOCA Family