Momentum builds for making Juneteenth a federal holiday

This week the President and CEO announced it would be a permanent paid holiday starting this year, calling it a "day of reflection, learning, and service".

"As a black person, I have been "sat down" by older relatives and told the stories of disenfranchisement, discrimination, and the multiple exclusions they faced", said Philip Thompson, a team leader at stock images provider Shutterstock, which declared Juneteenth a permanent company holiday. Since then, a number of others have followed their lead.

Today is Juneteenth, the anniversary of the 1865 announcement that the United States had ended the practice of slavery.

"It's possible we may get a second wave and even beyond that", Romero said. "Celebrating the fourth of July doesn't have the same meaning to all Americans and so Juneteenth is really kind of the real Independence Day for many Americans". In that moment, he announced freedom of almost 250,000 enslaved people there.

A Juneteenth prayer gathering hosted by the Global Leadership Summit will be held Friday at 8 the Salvation Army, 2424 Pratt St.

From its origin as a celebration of emancipation in Texas, Juneteenth grew in popularity and spread to other states.

While Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation back in January 1st in 1863, it took a few years for many enslaved African-American people to claim their freedom. "I started wondering, is this another example of how a national holiday is formed?" "This holiday has always been recognized by 45 states and the District of Columbia".

"We are especially encouraged by the steps taken to remove their portraits on the eve of Juneteenth - the day that will forever commemorate the emancipation of Black people from enslavement", Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement shared with NPR.

Cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon have taken steps toward declaring Juneteenth as citywide holidays.

Byron Miller, Juneteenth commissioner for San Antonio, Texas, said he has long felt compelled to make the celebration "palatable" to white people by emphasizing advances in racial harmony, rather than dwelling on centuries of abuses endured by African Americans.

"RT if you think Congress should make Juneteenth a national holiday", Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for a NY state congress, wrote in a tweet that's been retweeted more than 200,000 times.