COLUMBUS — State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today signed onto a concurrent resolution urging Congress to designate June 19th a paid federal holiday. This date is to be known as Juneteenth Independence Day in recognition of June 19, 1865, when news of the end of slavery reached the southwestern states two months after the end of the American Civil War.  


“The purpose of holidays is to commemorate and to educate. For both reasons, I am happy to cosponsor an Ohio House resolution asking the U.S. federal government to adopt June 19th as a national holiday. Ohio has always been a staunch anti-slavery state. In 1851, Ohio added a ban on slavery to our state constitution. Ohio was also considered the most active state in the Underground Railroad that helped guide, 'an estimated 100,000 (who) fled to freedom over the course of the 19th century,' according to James A. Banks in March Toward Freedom: A History of Black Americans,” said Rep. Smith.


This resolution comes on the heels of civil unrest across the nation in support of racial equity and justice for African American communities. Federal acknowledgement of this notable date is one way to ensure minority communities can annually commemorate their history.


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