On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston with news that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery more than two years earlier. In honor of this historically significant day, Senator John Cornyn sponsored a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Sen. Cornyn has been the lead author of a resolution honoring Juneteenth each year since 2011. Designating Juneteenth as a nationwide holiday further establishes it as an annual reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go to achieve the order of equality.

Together with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the senator also sponsored legislation for a federal study of a National Emancipation Trail from Galveston to Houston, following the path of slaves freed on June 19, 1865 to spread the news. This bill was signed into law in January 2020.