RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While Father’s Day stands as the most prominent holiday being celebrated Sunday, some across the country are celebrating an entirely different kind of holiday.
June 19, 1865 marked the end of slavery in the South in the United States. Since then the holiday has been celebrated throughout the country.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D) issued a statement on the holiday Sunday afternoon.
“On this day 151 years ago, people celebrated the end of slavery in the South. Over a century and a half later, the ‘Juneteenth’ celebrations continue and I’m proud to join Virginians and Americans across the country in continuing this important tradition,” Kaine’s statement said.
Holidays that celebrate African-American heritage are especially important at a time when inequality still abounds throughout the nation.
“The history of African-Americans is a tragic and painful one in many ways, but it’s also a history of triumph over adversity,” Kaine said. “The year 2019 will mark 400 years since the arrival of Africans to America. To commemorate this legacy, I’ve called for the establishment of a commission that would be charged with recognizing and highlighting the resilience and contributions of African-Americans to our nation’s history, as well as acknowledging the painful impact slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination have had.”
Kaine mentioned the need to recognize and celebrate African-American heritage the way that English and Spanish descendants’ heritage have been for centuries.
“Similar commissions have been established to recognize English & Hispanic heritage, including the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida,” Kaine said. “The profound influence of African-Americans across countless generations is a story that must be told.”