Juneteenth one step closer to becoming federal holiday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Juneteenth is this Saturday and it’s also, one step closer to becoming a federal holiday after it passed in the Senate Tuesday.

Next, the House will have to pass the bill then it will become a federal holiday. But right here in Shelby County and Memphis, it’s already recognized as a holiday.

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“I’m glad they’re recognizing it as something monumental,” said Dekayla Thomas, Memphis resident.

Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would recognize Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States as a Federal Holiday.

“Do I think they did it for the right reasons? No, I think they did it because they felt like they needed to, but I’m happy they did it anyway,” said Thomas.

Juneteenth is already a holiday in Memphis and Shelby County.

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Shelby County employees will receive holiday pay this year while city employees will begin receiving holiday pay next year.

“It’s great that if people are working they get the day off,” said Thomas.

City leaders said they may add the holiday or they may swap it in for another holiday allowing the city to save around a million dollars.

“Let’s recognize it, but also what are the intentions behind it. Are you doing it just to say we’re doing something for black people? Or are you recognizing what it means?”

The council must still make a decision, but if the House passes the bill, it will no longer be necessary.

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