Juneteenth National Independence Day is the oldest and most recognized African-American holiday observance in the United States. Juneteenth ( also Freedom Day), the "19th of June", is the date when Union General Gordon Granger and thousands of Union soldiers, many of them United States Colored Troops, arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865. General Granger would issue General Order Number 3 which informed the tens of thousands then held in bondage that they were in fact free. It represents the first day that the "new birth of freedom" professed by the Emancipation Proclamation and later enshrined in the 13th Amendment would become self-evident for all Americans.
A measure that has been formally introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly this session, SB 0269 HB 0317, would change the designation of Juneteenth from, "a day of special observance to a legal holiday."
We need your help to make certain that Juneteenth becomes a legal holiday in Tennessee. Juneteenth is an occasion where all the people of Tennessee can pay respectful tribute, remember, and give special recognition to what is America's second Independence Day.
A legal holiday would mean that the state would officially order the closure of state offices and local facilities, grant paid or compensatory time off to state and local employees, and "safeguard" holiday recognition through state legal statutes.
We hope that you might sign this petition, and tell your local representatives and all members of the Tennessee General Assembly that you support passage of this historic piece of legislation.