South Dakota Democratic Party rejoices as Juneteenth becomes a federal holiday

Sioux Falls, SD (June 18, 2021) – Thursday, President Joe Biden signed into law the recognition of the holiday that acknowledges June 19, 1865 as the day Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, 2 ½ years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had freed slaves. The South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP) congratulates the organizers of the Sioux Falls Juneteenth Celebration on the newly recognized federal holiday. Sioux Falls will host their annual Juneteenth Festival, Saturday, June 19, 2021, 10 AM to 4 PM at Terrace Park West. 

“It is rare these days to see such nonpartisan support for a bill. Juneteenth National Independence Day is an important step in acknowledging America’s past inequalities and celebrating the freedom of those enslaved during a tragic part of American history. We couldn’t be more excited about this step in the right direction. This shows how far we have come as a nation.” – Randy Seiler, Chair, SDDP

During the 2021 legislative session SB 89 was brought to Pierre by Senator Reynold Nesiba to make Juneteenth a South Dakota state holiday. It was deferred to the 41st day, killing the bill in the Senate State Affairs committee. Another bill, SB 71 was brought to create a working holiday acknowledging the holiday but was defeated by a House vote. 

“Juneteenth is America’s holiday. It recognizes and celebrates the full realization of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery. At the same time, this holiday implicitly acknowledges that this immoral institution was foundational to our nation’s development. The United States remains a work in progress striving toward ‘a more perfect union’ and aspiring toward ‘liberty and justice for all.’ The Juneteenth holiday embraces this tension.” – Reynold Nesiba, Democratic State Senator

Sioux Falls community organizers Establishing Sustainable Connections have been putting on this celebration and deserve credit for Thursday’s action by Congress and the Biden Administration. Their commitment and hard work, in coordination with other events across the country brought this federal holiday to fruition. The South Dakota Democratic Party would like to congratulate them on this achievement. 

The South Dakota Young Dems and Minnehaha County Democratic Party will celebrate by registering new voters and helping update voter registration from our booth at the festival throughout the day.

“What better way to celebrate freedom and the end of slavery than making sure everyone is registered to vote and their voice is heard. This is another step toward unity, togetherness and being mindful of our American history. It’s historic.” – Nikki Gronli, Vice Chair, SDDP 

Please direct questions to: Nikki Gronli, • 605-376-3337