Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee spoke with pride Sunday of the elevation of Juneteenth to a national holiday.
“I introduced the first legislation dealing with making this a national holiday after 10 years of seeking recognition,” Lee (D-Texas) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “For me, it is a moment of great emotion. It is a moment of passion and compassion, because slavery was enormously brutal.”
President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2021 making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States after the Union victory in the Civil War, originated in Texas.
“I thought it was extremely important to pass a federal holiday that would give America a moment to be able to reflect not just on the jubilation of freedom, but also the brutality of slavery and what it meant to human beings,” Lee said.
Lee told host Dana Bash she sees Juneteenth as a springboard to a discussion on other issues, including reparations for descendants of enslaved people.