Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed legislation on Monday to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Rhode Island to officially go into effect next year.

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and with Governor McKee’s latest legislation signing, it is to be recognized statewide every June 19th.

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What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. This day honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

The holiday was not recognized nationally, however, until President Biden’s bill in 2021.

What is the Difference Between a Federal Holiday and State Holiday?

While Juneteenth became a federal holiday two years ago, it became a state holiday for Rhode Island on Monday, June 19th, 2023. So, what does that mean?

A Federal Holiday is a day that is recognized by the United States Government where US Government offices are closed, and federal employees are paid to have the day off, but state and local governments remain open.

A State Holiday is a holiday where all state government offices and public schools will be closed.

With the latest legislation from Governor McKee, that means Juneteenth warrants a day off for all Rhode Islanders both state officials and its residents.

Juneteenth Becomes a Rhode Island State Holiday on June 19th, 2024, and joins states such as Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.

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