Today, President Joe Biden is expected to sign a bill officially making Juneteenth a federal holiday. It passed in the Senate unanimously, and passed in the House with only 14 representatives voting against it.

I was a little surprised that there were 14 votes against this, though. The number seems a bit high, considering America is the land of opportunity and personal freedom. It seems mighty patriotic to me to celebrate the day we, as a country, finally gave slavery the boot. I suppose they have their reasons, but thankfully the nobler of our politicians prevailed and we now have a new official federal holiday.

KISS FM 96.9 logo
Get our free mobile app

Juneteenth serves as a reminder of when Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston. That announcement came two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

In Amarillo, there will be a Juneteenth two-day celebration event this Saturday and Sunday. The event will be held at Bones Hooks Park.

Saturday at 10 am there will be the parade down Hughes. From 11 am until 5 pm there will be events taking place in the park.

Sunday from 10 am until 12 pm, there will be Church in the Park.

For more information you can follow this link.

I imagine that Juneteenth events this year may feel a little different. There's a lot to reflect on. There are 14 representatives in Congress that remind us there is still a long way to go.

This past year has been tough. The Black Lives Matter movement across the nation, in response to incidents like the one that cost George Floyd his life, dominated headlines and video feeds.

There were a lot of encouraging and beautiful moments in those images and headlines as people from all backgrounds and ways of life stood shoulder to shoulder in response to a system that is broken. There were also images of violence, destruction, and tyranny.

Those events, though, are being credited with giving this legislation the boost it needed to finally make it to the President's desk.

LOOK: 50 essential civil rights speeches

Many of the speakers had a lifetime commitment to human rights, but one tried to silence an activist lobbying for voting rights, before later signing off on major civil rights legislation. Several fought for freedom for more than one oppressed group.

Keep reading to discover 50 essential civil rights speeches.

LOOK: 28 Modern Black History Makers & Moments

More From KISS FM 96.9