One way that racism has persisted in the U.S. is through a denial of U.S. history and an erasure of the history of Black people in the U.S. This shows up, for example, in the holidays we honor as a society. The U.S. celebrates Independence Day on the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence—a significant day in U.S. history, to be sure, but not a day of independence for enslaved people. That day did not come until 1865, after a civil war was fought and the Constitution was amended. Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the day when all people in the U.S. gained their legal freedom. It is significant to all of us as a landmark moment in U.S. history.

Recognizing Juneteenth as a legal holiday would make it clear that Connecticut is not eliding its troubled history with slavery. It would also give everyone a cause for celebrating a day when what should be a foundational U.S. ideal—freedom—became more of a reality for formerly enslaved people. Acknowledging that the freedom celebrated on Independence Day was not fully gained until nearly 90 years later is to embrace the work of continuously perfecting our union.



Bill number

S.B. 350