This afternoon President Joe Biden signed into Law the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” establishing June 19 as a federal holiday. The initial Bill passed the Senate on Tuesday June 15 under a unanimous consent agreement, with the House following on Wednesday with a 415-14 vote. The Law goes into effect immediately, and this Friday will be America’s first observance of the federal Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 – the day that enslaved people in Texas finally learned of their freedom, more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. When Union Soldiers reached the port city of Galveston, enslaved African Americans celebrated the news and a local annual celebration was born. Since then, nearly every state has adopted Juneteenth as a holiday, and this recently signed Law establishes the first federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.
VMSI celebrates the diversity in our company and the communities in which we serve, and we honor the significance of this holiday as a marker of a great step toward equality in our shared US history. As President Biden eloquently stated earlier today:
“…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 also the distance we have to travel.”
This is a new kind of independence day, and we believe everyone in our great nation can take pride in celebrating and promoting the ideal of true equality for all persons. We are working diligently with our customers and employees to incorporate the unexpected but heartily welcomed additional federal holiday into our infrastructure while still adhering to our contractual obligations to our customers.