Orange County

Florida senator, state representative calling for Juneteenth to become official holiday

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida senator and a state representative-elect are calling for Juneteenth to become an official holiday in the state.

Sen. Randolph Bracy and Rep. Travaris McCurdy said a holiday commemorating Juneteenth would “serve as a powerful symbol honoring past racial justice victories while acknowledging the work that still needs to be done.”

Read: Activists gather in Orlando to silently protest racism, police brutality

They said holiday’s often reflect on the sacrifices workers, soldiers and patriotic Americans did for democracy and “no group deserves this distinction more than the generations of African Americans who helped build America into the world’s greatest superpower.”

“It’s a celebration that we have every year, where we commemorate the day when slaves were notified that they were free -- almost two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation,” Bracy said.

Read: Juneteenth: What to know about the holiday that celebrates slavery’s end

Bracy announced he is drafting a bill to make the day more than just a date for local rallies.

“It’s a day that I think, it’s time has come to recognize it as an official state holiday. There’s obviously been support for the idea across this country,” Bracy said.

Bracy said he hopes to introduce the bill for consideration for early next year, so by one year from now to the day it could be an official state holiday.

Read: Festivals, yoga, poetry slams and more: Your guide to Juneteenth events in Central Florida

Katlyn Brieskorn,

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.