Senator Bradford Issues Statement on Juneteenth National Independence Act

June 17, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Today, President Biden signed S. 475, a federal bill which officially recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday. Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) released the following statement in response:

“I commend the Biden Administration as well as members of Congress for enacting S. 475. Juneteenth is the oldest African American holiday in the United States. It celebrates the fulfillment of a promise made by President Lincoln in 1863. Two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. But the spirit of Juneteenth is so much more than that. It celebrates the ideals of freedom, strength and faith. The holiday has grown in many states, and here in California, I have authored resolutions recognizing it every year since I joined the Senate.

We should take time to acknowledge that this country was built on the backs of slaves and the many contributions to business, science, medicine, art, and music that African Americans have made. In many ways we are still bound by inequality. For a lot of people, Juneteenth remains an unknown holiday. This fact lends itself to the continued miseducation, whitewashing, and lies taught in America. It’s time to have a real conversation about race and the hold it still has on our country. This holiday will hopefully lead to more honest education and debate. I am grateful that in cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions will come together every year on June 19 to acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today and the struggle for true freedom.”


Senator Bradford is Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.