New Jersey Governor Declares Juneteenth a Public Holiday | 22 Words

A New Jersey governor has officially designated June 19, or Juneteenth, a public holiday.

Keep scrolling to find out what he had to say...

Juneteenth is not celebrated enough in our country...

And it's a problem.

But, theres been a step forward...

As a New Jersey governor has declared it a public holiday. Firstly, let's recap a few things...

The Black Lives Matter movement has taken over the world...

Since the death of George Floyd, protests for the movement have been happening across the globe in volumes we've never seen before.

Racially motivated police brutality has been happening for centuries now...

But George's death has sparked an outrage like never before.

Thousands upon thousands of people have been taking to the streets in protest...

And they are all marching for one thing: For the blatant racism and injustice in this country to be brought to an end.

Many protests turned violent...

But change needs to happen and, at the moment, this seems like the only way to make it happen.

Remarkably, however, they seem to be working.

Thanks to these riots, the Black Lives Matter movement is dominating global headlines, and it has completely taken over social media.

It has also taken over our streets...

For instance, a group of people painted large yellow letters saying "Black Lives Matter" down two blocks of 16th Street in D.C - a two-lane road that coincidentally leads to the White House.

Protests have been happening across the pond too...

Hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

We are witnessing history in the making...

And people are continuing to demand justice.

But what about what's already written in history books?

In school, we were all taught about our country's rich history... but it turns out that we are all completely oblivious to some very important facts in regard to the black community and slavery.

We're all well aware of the history America has with slavery...

And when children are taught about it in school, they're more than often told it ended with Abraham Lincoln’s signature on the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

But this didn't mean slavery was over.

As late as June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Texas were still held in bondage, and on that date, federal troops entered the state and began to punish slaveholders and former Confederates who refused to obey the law.

This date became known as "Juneteenth."

"Juneteenth is a deeply emotional moment for enslaved people," historian Karlos K. Hill, of the University of Oklahoma, said.

In Texas and across the country, emancipated African Americans began celebrating annually, with parades, concerts, and picnics.

"Being able to go wherever they want and being able to wander about; for enslaved people, it was an expression of their freedom," Hill explained. "Formerly enslaved people celebrating, in public, their newfound freedom, was an act of resistance."

However, by the time 1877 had come around, the federal government had largely abandoned the south.

The lynching era — when hundreds of African Americans were brutally killed by white mobs each year across the North and the South — began soon after.

It is so important for people of our country to be aware of these brutal occurrences...

And it demonstrates highly were some of the disgusting attitudes towards black people come from.

Even though Juneteenth is not a national holiday...

It is still celebrated by many people across the country, and it is usually dubbed as "Independence Day for the black community."

Activists continue to campaign for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday...

And even though it is recognized as a state holiday across the majority of the country, it's importance needs to be acknowledged.

Hill is one of those who believes that Juneteenth should be celebrated on a wider level...

He said that commemorating Juneteenth is important for all Americans because it helps us see all the ways that slavery still shapes this country, including, as he says, "the desire to master and dominate black bodies."

Juneteeth is all about the freedom of black people...

But if the racism that they face on a daily basis is never dealt with properly and the people responsible aren't held accountable, how on earth are they considered to be free?

People like Karlos Hill are pressing for Juneteenth to be celebrated by everyone in America...

And there has been a development.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy designated Juneteenth, as a state and public holiday in the state of New Jersey.

He signed the bill yesterday alongside first lady Tammy Murphy and star SZA who present through video chat.

In a press release, governor Murphy said: "It gives me great pride to celebrate emancipation and New Jersey’s great diversity by designating Juneteenth as an official State holiday." said Governor Murphy. “Commemorating this date is just one component of our collective approach to end a generational cycle of pain and injustice that has gone on for far too long. Every Juneteenth, we will celebrate the end of the physical chains which once held Black Americans down. While more work lies ahead to undo the oppression that remains, Juneteenth is important marker that reminds us of our mission to create a society that enables our Black communities to achieve the full equality which they deserve."

Governor Murphy shared a video of the signing on Twitter and alongside he wrote "Honored to be joined by @SZA and @FirstLadyNJ as I signed legislation making #Juneteenth an official State and public holiday. 

"We must continue our work to eradicate barriers that keep too many Black communities from achieving full equality and dignity."

You can read the full press release here. This marks such an important time in the history of not only our country but also of the African American community - let's make it happen.