COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a paid state holiday Monday.
President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday on June 17, establishing it as a holiday in Ohio. The state’s legislation, included as an amendment in the state’s budget, adds Juneteenth to the state holidays explicitly listed in the Ohio Revised Code.
“Commemorating Juneteenth as a paid state holiday will help us honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States,” said state Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus), sponsor of the legislation, in a statement Monday. “It will acknowledge the sacrifices and struggles and celebrate the tenacity and triumphs of Black Americans. 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, two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Maj. General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing the end of slavery.
The budget heads to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk for his signature, which has to be done by the end of the day Wednesday.