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a new holiday marks the end of slavery in the country 156 years ago – RT en français

Joe Biden enacted a law to create a new federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865. Fourteen Republican representatives voted against this non-working day known as “Juneteenth”.

On June 17, US President Joe Biden enacted legislation creating a new federal holiday, the Juneteenth, to commemorate the emancipation of the last slaves in Texas 156 years ago, on June 19, 1865.

Juneteenth symbolizes both the long and difficult night of slavery and submission, and the promise of a better day, ”said the Democratic President during a ceremony at the White House alongside his Vice President Kamala Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent.

In a rare moment of political unity, the Senate unanimously approved on June 15 the text of the law consecrating the “National Independence Day of Juneteenth”(Contraction of“ June ”and“ 19 ”in English), then the House of Representatives adopted it with an overwhelming majority, only 14 elected Republicans voting against.

One of them, Representative Andy Biggs of Texas, criticized Democrats for “turning this law into a weapon and wanting to divide” by calling it “National Independence Day”, rather than “National Independence Day”. emancipation”.

As reported by New York Times, his colleague from Tennessee Scott DesJarlais justified his vote against the law by the fact that it is “fiscally irresponsible to continue to create new paid holidays for federal employees when the majority of hard-working private sector employees must pay the bill”.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, meanwhile, spoke on Twitter: “If you want to call the Juneteenth, “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day” for example, then fine – definitely worth considering. But call it “Independence Day” [qui est également le nom de la fête nationale américaine, le 4 juillet] is totally inappropriate. ” He also criticized the cost of the measure, which he said would amount to more than a billion dollars per year.

Arizona Representative Paul Gosar said in a statement that “cultural and political Marxists continue their relentless efforts to further divide [les Etats-Unis]”. “The Juneteenth is a critical theory of race (Critical race theory) demystified in action. I reject racism. I reject the racial division that people promote. I voted no because this holiday proposal does not bring us together, it tears us apart, ”he said.

Slavery, “America’s original sin” according to Joe Biden

Slavery – officially abolished in December 1865 with the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution after nearly 250 years of existence – is according to Joe Biden a “moral stain” and “America’s original sin.” On June 19, 1865, the Union army victorious in the Civil War (1861-1865) announced to slaves in the Texas town of Galveston that they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

By making June 19 the 11th federal holiday, “all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history, celebrate progress and see the distance traveled,” said Joe Biden. He stressed, however, that the emancipation of slaves was “only the beginning” of efforts to “keep the promise of racial equality”. “We are not there yet”, lamented the American president, while according to certain studies regularly cited by the Democrats, the black minority (13% of the population of the United States) still suffers from discrimination in employment , housing or even health.

Several conservative states have recently adopted restrictive electoral laws aimed at combating fraud. However, they are accused by some of limiting access to the ballot boxes for African-American voters, who vote mainly Democrats. “The promise of an America for all will not be kept as long as the sacred right to vote remains in jeopardy,” Joe Biden said in this regard on June 17.

A holiday already in several states of a country where “hatred hides but does not disappear”

This new holiday is reserved for federal government employees deemed non-essential, but the Juneteenth is already a holiday in the majority of American states where the day is generally celebrated with parades, concerts or block parties.

Several large companies like Twitter, Nike or Lyft have made it a day off for their employees after the death of George Floyd, an African-American killed by a white policeman on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis. His murder sparked a historic wave of anger against racism.

The signing ceremony also comes on the sixth anniversary of the deaths of nine people in the attack by a young “white supremacist” follower on a black community church in Charleston, South Carolina. “[Cet homme] took the lives [des fidèles] in a place of worship to remind us that our efforts to eradicate hatred never stop, hatred hides but does not disappear, ”Biden warned.

Since the death of George Floyd, the United States has looked into its slave past, and long-standing calls to compensate blacks for this period have resumed. Joe Biden supports legislation to create a commission of experts to make proposals on compensation for the descendants of some four million Africans forcibly brought to the United States between 1619 and 1865.

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