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On Thursday, June 17, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. June 19th will now be officially recognized as a national day for the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

Biden said that signing this into law was one of the greatest honors he will have as president, adding, “All Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history.”

The law went into effect immediately, with Friday as the first federal Juneteenth holiday because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year. Public schools are closed and federal employees observe the holiday.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who also signed the legislation in her capacity as the president of the Senate, said, “Throughout history, Juneteenth has been known by many names: Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day. Emancipation Day. And today, a national holiday.”

Learn more about Juneteenth here.

Learn about the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Juneteenth celebration here.

Juneteenth fact sheet here.

Access UNC System Juneteenth Holiday FAQ here.

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