Bill making Juneteenth, Emancipation Day legal holidays passes Florida Senate

In this June 19, 2020 file photo, Imani Abdul sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during a Juneteenth celebration.
In this June 19, 2020 file photo, Imani Abdul sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during a Juneteenth celebration. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Senate passed a bill Wednesday commemorating two days significant in the abolition of slavery.

The bill would make both Juneteenth and Emancipation Day (May 20), legal holidays in the state, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee). The bill also requires high school students receive classroom instruction on the history of the Emancipation Proclamation and its significance to Florida.

“Slavery evokes one of the most painful chapters in our nation’s story. Yet the action we took today should prompt reflection on how far we’ve come as a nation,” Bracy said. “It’s also a chance to recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of security liberty and equal rights for all Americans.”

The legislation is pending in the Florida House and would require Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature to become law. It would go into effect on July 1.