Thu, 13 Aug 2020

Two U.S. Republican senators are calling for adoption of Juneteenth as a national holiday to remember the 1865 emancipation of slaves in the United States.

Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and James Lankford of Oklahoma are not the first U.S. lawmakers to propose making the annual June 19 commemoration a national holiday.

But on Wednesday they offered a possible compromise to keep from adding to the list of 10 national holidays already designated by the federal government in the U.S.

They suggested ending the designation of the lightly celebrated Columbus Day in October as a holiday honoring the arrival in the Americas of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus on Oct. 12, 1492, while adding the June 19 holiday each year.

"Juneteenth is a day in our history that redefined the meaning of freedom and equality in America," Lankford said. "Throughout our history, we have strived to become a more perfect union and Juneteenth was a huge step attaining that goal.

"We should celebrate these strides on the federal level while remaining cognizant of the impact the existing 10 federal holidays have on federal services and local businesses," he said.

Johnson said that swapping one holiday for another would be least disruptive to Americans' work schedules.

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