– Legislation sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon) establishing Juneteenth National Freedom Day as an official annual observance in Pennsylvania today was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives. House Bill 2488 will next be considered by the Senate.
“Juneteenth National Freedom Day is the oldest African-American holiday observance in the United States,” said Helm. “It is a celebration that marks the ending of slavery in this country that has evolved into a day to highlight education and achievement in the African-American community.”
Helm’s bill would provide for the annual designation of June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Pennsylvania. By doing so, governmental entities, civic organizations and schools would be encouraged to observe the day, with an emphasis on the meaning and importance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The observance dates back to June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free. At least 37 other states observe Juneteenth National Freedom Day.
Representative Sue Helm
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs