COLUMBIA — This year, Juneteenth will have more history to add to its already rich one.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill officially establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday. On Wednesday, the House passed the bill and now it heads to President Biden's desk, with hopes it will be signed by Saturday.
The history behind Juneteenth sees this as a victory and welcomes the 12th official federal holiday.
Locally, Stephens College made the decision to make Juneteenth a paid work holiday starting in 2022. The decision came as a way to encourage and celebrate the history of the date. Representatives also hope that it gets the wheels turning for others to join in.
“We believe it’s the right thing for us to do,” Dr. Leslie Willey, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. “It’s the right thing for our Stephens College family and it aligns with our values.”
Stephens College is also encouraging people to attend the June block party at Douglass Park Saturday to celebrate the holiday.
Other celebrations will happen throughout the weekend, too. At Cosmo Park, vendors, poets, artists and others will come together to celebrate and enjoy the history happening.
The celebrations will be fun, but for Papadoo’s Soul Food owner Joshua Williams, there’s a message behind the festivities, specifically for the kids who may be in attendance.
“We want to show them love,” Williams said. “We want to show them family oriented fun. We want to just show them they are somebody. They are free and that they can be whoever they want to be.”
Papadoo’s will be one of many restaurants and vendors at the Cosmo Park celebration this Saturday.