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Juneteenth National Holiday


Quill
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I think it’s fantastic! And I just heard the story about Miss Opal Lee, the 94yo woman who has been walking 2.5 symbolic miles for years and years, trying to bring attention to it as a holiday. What a hero! 

Here’s what I genuinely, seriously and for real want to understand: what are people who are dismissive or scornful of it objecting to? I mean, I’d really like to think about that beyond an equally dismissive, “Well, cuz they’re racist a-holes, that’s why...” What do they have against acknowledging this very important day? (If we can have Columbus Day and honor that absolute toe-rag...although I know some people are trying to alter that as well...) 

My boss found it “RIDICULOUS!” That the courts were closed yesterday, but we didn’t have an opportunity to discuss it. 

Does anyone know of a meaningful reason someone would be against Juneteenth as a national holiday? Also, do other countries have any national holidays that honor one segment of the population specifically? 

 

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I don’t know of anyone who objects to it as a concept. The concern, though, is that the call has been for real reform, and instead we get another holiday where middle/upper class folks will get a day off with pay, and lower income folks won’t, and income and race still has a high correlation. 
 

I would argue that this isn’t a holiday for one segment of society, but a holiday memorializing a very significant event in US history.  

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Kay James of the Heritage Foundation celebrates it as a day to bring healing & answers, a day to celebrate the United States of America, a day for ALL Americans to speak with both honesty and hope of a turning point in our nation's history. 

She said it a lot better than I could. ❤️

(And I wanted to link to her speech but am not sure if it counts as politics; if you're interested enough to find it, she speaks with eloquence and wisdom.)

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I haven't heard of any objections to it other than, as Penelope noted, it was passed so suddenly so there was no time for some affected segments to prepare. I work in banking and there was a bit of confusion over what, if any, effect it would have on some  transactions.

I do think there are probably some people who just generally don't like changes of any sort to holidays. I remember people grumbling when Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays were combined into one holiday.

I think it's great that we have made it national. 

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There was a congress member on the news this morning. My kids were loud so I didn’t catch his name or state.  He argued against part of the legislation that labeled it Independence Day because he thought people would find it confusing. I never did look up if that was the way it was written because I’ve never heard it referred to as anything but Juneteenth. 

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We have other holidays like Memorial Day that honor one segment of the population.

We also have holidays like Christmas that relate to the culture and traditions of some segments of the population and not others.

Juneteenth is nothing exceptional in that sense.

The end of slavery certainly seems worthy of honor for the nation as a whole--it relates no less to who we are as a nation than does July 4th in my mind.

Some people are just naturally hesitant about change, some may feel that this was driven by "the other political party" so is suspect--which is a very normal human sort of thing. I think we need to be careful about necessarily equating those kinds of knee-jerk negative reactions with actual negative motivations.

Not that nobody would have straight-up racism as a motivation for reacting negatively, just that not everyone who reacts negatively is likely driven by racism.

I've actually seen almost no reaction at all.

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I don’t really understand the idea that this holiday only honors one group in society.  I’m white and I’m thrilled that slavery ended in the US.  Do we still have huge racial problems to solve?  Absolutely!  But ending slavery was monumental for everyone.  The legal legacy, specifically the 14th amendment, is huge and benefits us all.  

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I was born and raised in Texas so knew about it and it became a holiday there when I was younger. Even though there was very much a racism problem where I grew up, I never heard anyone actually complain about Juneteenth. So, people doing so now is weird. 

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4 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

I think some people are just annoyed that nobody invited them to the party, and now they're confronted with the knowledge that no, they don't have black friends.

“whut??? There was a barbecue occasion I totally missed?” 

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So I was looking this up and one objection I saw was regarding the name, National Independence Day. I have never seen that name before, and it makes no sense to me, as we already have a day with that name. (Well, close.)

What is the official name of the holiday? 

Edited by marbel
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26 minutes ago, happi duck said:

Most states already had Juneteenth as a state holiday or observance.  Making it federal is great!  Glad they scrambled and marked it some right away.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/06/19/us/juneteenth-state-holidays-trnd/index.html

When I was a kid, it was called Emancipation Day in my state.

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I liked the name Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, and don't agree with using the word Independence in the name- especially so close to Independence Day- the 4th of July.  I have no issue with another holiday,  but agree it was kinda weird- suddenly offices were closed?  We did get mail- i had thought we wouldn't.   

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7 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

I liked the name Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, and don't agree with using the word Independence in the name- especially so close to Independence Day- the 4th of July.  I have no issue with another holiday,  but agree it was kinda weird- suddenly offices were closed?  We did get mail- i had thought we wouldn't.   

I thought the same thing about the mail, but read this:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/06/17/usps-deliver-mail-friday-and-saturday-despite-juneteenth-holiday/7737088002/

It was weird with offices/schools suddenly closed.  We know many people who had Friday off unexpectedly.  Ds2 was given a floating holiday instead, which seemed like a better idea.

 

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2 hours ago, Penelope said:

I’m in favor of it. My only criticism is that it seemed to come out of nowhere so that no one apparently had time to prepare to either close or plan additional celebrations or whatever. 
 

I thought it might have made more sense for the announcement of it to have waited two days to be made on Juneteenth, as a celebratory thing. It would have made sense and been cause for celebration and wouldn’t have caused confusion about what to do this year, while also not ignoring it this year. But, there may be reasons I’m not aware of that wouldn’t have been practical.

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5 minutes ago, KSera said:

I thought it might have made more sense for the announcement of it to have waited two days to be made on Juneteenth, as a celebratory thing. It would have made sense and been cause for celebration and wouldn’t have caused confusion about what to do this year, while also not ignoring it this year. But, there may be reasons I’m not aware of that wouldn’t have been practical.

Maybe the people who were invited to the White House ceremony wanted to be able to attend events in their home districts today.  Juneteenth has been a state holiday in Texas for years, but there's a lot more happening this year.

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10 minutes ago, DoraBora said:

Maybe the people who were invited to the White House ceremony wanted to be able to attend events in their home districts today.  Juneteenth has been a state holiday in Texas for years, but there's a lot more happening this year.

Good point. 

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I've seen absolutely nobody say a negative thing about Juneteenth being a national holiday.

But people need to have advance warning if important services are going to be closed.  For example, I am working on three transaction exits that have been delayed because the banks suddenly weren't open to do their part of the deal.  Like it or not, many things are time sensitive.  I can just imagine how many problems this would have caused in the courts.  What if you had an important child custody or adoption hearing scheduled for yesterday?  It's not like this was a national emergency.

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Adding in, that our rural region has celebrated the Eighth of August for like 100 years.
It's when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation came to our town.

Thankfully, they're NOT dropping our traditional celebration in August.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

I've seen absolutely nobody say a negative thing about Juneteenth being a national holiday.

But people need to have advance warning if important services are going to be closed.  For example, I am working on three transaction exits that have been delayed because the banks suddenly weren't open to do their part of the deal.  Like it or not, many things are time sensitive.  I can just imagine how many problems this would have caused in the courts.  What if you had an important child custody or adoption hearing scheduled for yesterday?  It's not like this was a national emergency.

Gosh, I didn't even think about that. Again it feels like optics matter more than people. I love that this is a national holiday but there had to be a better way of executing it.

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3 hours ago, marbel said:

I haven't heard of any objections to it other than, as Penelope noted, it was passed so suddenly so there was no time for some affected segments to prepare. I work in banking and there was a bit of confusion over what, if any, effect it would have on some  transactions.

I do think there are probably some people who just generally don't like changes of any sort to holidays. I remember people grumbling when Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays were combined into one holiday.

I think it's great that we have made it national. 

I don't actually get why President's day is a holiday at all anymore. 

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

I've seen absolutely nobody say a negative thing about Juneteenth being a national holiday.

But people need to have advance warning if important services are going to be closed.  For example, I am working on three transaction exits that have been delayed because the banks suddenly weren't open to do their part of the deal.  Like it or not, many things are time sensitive.  I can just imagine how many problems this would have caused in the courts.  What if you had an important child custody or adoption hearing scheduled for yesterday?  It's not like this was a national emergency.

Yes, we have a very important trial here and it really messed them up. Like jurors going there because they had been gold to go and then suddenly the court was closed.

I have no issues w the holiday but thought it wasn't handled correctly.

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So, who is complaining or being scornful or dismissive of the holiday (apart from being unhappy about the suddenness of it and the resulting effects on some aspects of government/business)? 

@Quill, was your boss annoyed by the holiday itself, or the suddenness of it and the fact that courts were closed with no notice? Because it's legit to be annoyed by the sudden closures. 

Really, there was no reason not to announce the federal holiday today and plan on closures for next year and beyond.  

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14 minutes ago, marbel said:

To acknowledge the people who have served the country as President?  

I thought Presidents’ Day was to celebrate Washington and Lincoln…?

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Just now, bibiche said:

I thought President’s Day was to celebrate Washington and Lincoln…?

I don't think so anymore.  At least, my understanding is that it started as two holidays, for Washington and Lincoln, then merged into one, and now is a general nod to all Presidents of the US. My quick googling seems to confirm this.

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12 minutes ago, marbel said:

I don't think so anymore.  At least, my understanding is that it started as two holidays, for Washington and Lincoln, then merged into one, and now is a general nod to all Presidents of the US. My quick googling seems to confirm this.

Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays are either 1 day apart or 10 days apart depending on whether you use the Julian calendar for W's birthday. The official federal holiday is still called Washington's Birthday in federal law but lots of states passed their own legislation with various combinations of Washington, Lincoln or President's Day. It's kind of a mish mash but the general consensus came down to calling in President's or Presidents' Day on the national level.

5 hours ago, marbel said:

So I was looking this up and one objection I saw was regarding the name, National Independence Day. I have never seen that name before, and it makes no sense to me, as we already have a day with that name. (Well, close.)

What is the official name of the holiday? 

It's officially the Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday because historically it was called the Black Independence Day. Here's an article from UT that explains the history of Juneteenth in Texas.

https://news.utexas.edu/2020/06/18/juneteenth-black-americans-true-independence-day/

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2 hours ago, sassenach said:

I don't actually get why President's day is a holiday at all anymore. 

I don’t know if you meant that to be funny, but it was funny to me anyway! 

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47 minutes ago, marbel said:

So, who is complaining or being scornful or dismissive of the holiday (apart from being unhappy about the suddenness of it and the resulting effects on some aspects of government/business)? 

@Quill, was your boss annoyed by the holiday itself, or the suddenness of it and the fact that courts were closed with no notice? Because it's legit to be annoyed by the sudden closures. 

Really, there was no reason not to announce the federal holiday today and plan on closures for next year and beyond.  

We didn’t discuss it, but I definitely got the vibe that he thought it was “ “ridiculous” that the liberal administration has to make a holiday for this purpose. In our case, he didn’t have any court dates on the docket for Friday, though I can imagine it would have been disruptive if we had, and then hearings were suddenly pushed off for another date. That could have been a huge headache for sure, particularly for certain clients. 

It was very surprising to me that courts decided Thursday to close Friday. Highly unusual. 

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I don't have particular feelings about whether or not it should have been honored so suddenly with the day off. I can see for and against on that.

I'm not surprised that it's not gotten much pushback. The dividing issue in America over race isn't really whether slavery was good or bad. Obviously there are some people who are apologists for slavery, but for the most part, even the apologists and people who try to play like slavery somehow wasn't that bad still think it wasn't good and that it was right that it ended. The real dividing line is whether or not racism continues to deeply affect our society today. Making Juneteenth a holiday doesn't speak to that. People who see racism as a continued systemic harm look at Juneteenth and say, great, this is an opportunity to celebrate one milestone, and educate and reflect on the continued effects that slavery has on society today. People who believe that racism is largely a thing of the past save for some "bad apples" left out there can look at Juneteenth and say, great, we can celebrate the end of this bad chapter in American history and pat ourselves on the back for fixing it.

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I haven’t heard or seen much of anything about it this year. I the one article I did read had info about the one senator who was somewhat opposed but decided to vote for it anyway because there was a lack of interest or support in debating it. His concerns had to do with the cost to the federal government of giving an additional paid holiday to federal workers.

Having lived in Texas for many years, I wonder if some of the public concern is just because it was a Texas specific day rather than choosing a different date for a similar recognition such as the day the Emancipation proclamation was signed or something. Texas sometimes has a reputation for being …. A bit too proud of itself. But since there hasn’t been just one specific day for this recognition, Juneteenth is as good as any other. It is probably the most well known single date, and I do believe that this is something that should be celebrated just as much as Independence Day. 
 

However, my guess is that in my state it will be given low priority much like MLK Jr. day is treated here. My state has a very low population of people of African descent compared to most other states. While MLK Jr day is a federal holiday, most schools and many public buildings do not close. Many local (county and town) governments treat MLK jr Day as a floating holiday for employees. I imagine that Juneteenth will get the same treatment, but I hope not.

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21 hours ago, marbel said:

So I was looking this up and one objection I saw was regarding the name, National Independence Day. I have never seen that name before, and it makes no sense to me, as we already have a day with that name. (Well, close.)

I think Independence Day compared to National Independence Day makes perfect sense. July 4 was not Independence Day for everyone in our nation. Including that in the name makes for a wonderfully sharp point. 

17 hours ago, marbel said:

So, who is complaining or being scornful or dismissive of the holiday (apart from being unhappy about the suddenness of it and the resulting effects on some aspects of government/business)? 

At least 14 very vocal Republicans in the House, for all of the usual reasons (it's divisive and part of the hard left agenda), plus the delightful addition that Americans will be so confused they won't know when to light firecrackers. 

Vanity Fair Juneteenth

15 hours ago, Farrar said:

I don't have particular feelings about whether or not it should have been honored so suddenly with the day off. I can see for and against on that.

I'm not surprised that it's not gotten much pushback. The dividing issue in America over race isn't really whether slavery was good or bad. Obviously there are some people who are apologists for slavery, but for the most part, even the apologists and people who try to play like slavery somehow wasn't that bad still think it wasn't good and that it was right that it ended. The real dividing line is whether or not racism continues to deeply affect our society today. Making Juneteenth a holiday doesn't speak to that. People who see racism as a continued systemic harm look at Juneteenth and say, great, this is an opportunity to celebrate one milestone, and educate and reflect on the continued effects that slavery has on society today. People who believe that racism is largely a thing of the past save for some "bad apples" left out there can look at Juneteenth and say, great, we can celebrate the end of this bad chapter in American history and pat ourselves on the back for fixing it.

Juneteenth as a holiday does speak to whether racism continues to deeply affect our society, imo, because it is official and powerful recognition that the independence of black Americans is just as important as the independence of white Americans. Recognition and ceremony do play a significant role in changing the attitudes and actions of society. 

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21 hours ago, Seasider too said:

  in the sense that it might be mistaken for cultural approbation (is that the right term?).  

Cultural appropriation. 

19 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have Sorry Day here in Aus and Reconciliation Week.  It’s not a public holiday or anything.  I’m realising I’m embarrassingly ignorant about this stuff.

Maybe it hits different in an Australian accent, but Sorry Day sounds really . . . nonchalant? 

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I heard the neighbors talking disdainfully about it - the same neighbors that were complaining about the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ Lives Matter signs on the lawn a few houses away. Unfortunately we live in an area where this is a pretty common sentiment.😒 They've probably heard enough of our conversations outside that they have decided that we are not their kind of people.

A very few businesses were closed yesterday, but we got mail. I read that most federal employees would be observing on Friday, but I don't remember if we got mail on that day or not... SIL was upset that the cemetery was closed today for Juneteenth, as it's Father's Day and she wanted to put flowers on FILs grave. 

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23 hours ago, Seasider too said:

That’s how we feel!

I do hope that it’s not frowned upon that we (as white people) celebrate this holiday, in the sense that it might be mistaken for cultural approbation (is that the right term?). I truly see it as a landmark for all of us, and something worthy of celebration by all, even though I do recognize that some will feel  it’s significance more directly in their own family history. 

 

From what I have seen online (namely SEA), it is definitely frowned upon.

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3 hours ago, katilac said:

Cultural appropriation. 

Maybe it hits different in an Australian accent, but Sorry Day sounds really . . . nonchalant? 

I think it’s also known as the National day of healing? But I believe the name was chosen by the aboriginal people because they wanted an official apology for the stolen generation.  
 

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-marks-20-year-anniversary-of-sorry-day

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Without reading the thread first --- 

--yes, Brazil has a similar holiday surrounding that same segment of the population, if I'm understanding the holiday correctly (it was explained to me when we first moved there, and my Portuguese wasn't super fantastic, so I could be off base there.....but it's semi-related)

--as far as objections go.....as a Texan, it just makes me sad. It's been a thing/holiday here for a long time, and I've always felt shame over it. Which isn't to say it shouldn't be acknowledged -- it should, and I'm glad it is. At the same time, I feel like it's taking our state shame and putting it on display for the nation. Which I get is NOT the point, and it's very much NOT about me, and maybe we *SHOULD* feel uncomfortable about it. 

Locally, it's always been glossed over as "when Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation" and not "when white Texans finally had to admit to their slaves about the truth".....and so it just grieves me, deeply, having that shame and horror on the national stage now. It grieves me *more* that one of the people who voted against it was a Texan.  Is it not bad enough we kept this news to ourselves for two entire years, now we want to hide it and not allow the full truth into the light? 

So, in the end, my take/opinion on it is -- we must acknowledge that not all slaves were freed at the end of the civil war, and that some folks were actively holding that knowledge back, we must celebrate that truth did, in fact, win out in the end, and remember that truth will always win out in the end, and that oppressors can't oppress forever, and recognize, collectively, that trying to oppress others generally just ends in shame for the oppressor, so maybe let's don't even try it. 

But, yes, it's always been a holiday that saddens me a bit. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, I think. 

*also, I'm going to be away from my computer most of the coming week, but I'll try and check in once/day, so if I get any replies, and then seem to ignore them....I'm not, I'm just not at my computer. 

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