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New Juneteenth holiday gains acceptance – slowly

It took more than two years for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach the last enslaved people in Texas – and it may take as long to win wide acceptance for the new federal holiday marking that event.

Juneteenth, designated a federal holiday just last year, meant a day off for most federal workers Monday, but not for workers in half the states, including Arizona. It was recognized by some cities, but not by others, and just 30% of private businesses this year gave their workers the day off.

But supporters say the national holiday, years in the making, is a “big deal.” They said they intend to keep raising awareness about the day and what it means as a celebration of the “independence and freedom of Black people in the United States.”

While not yet widespread, Juneteenth is already making gains. The number of states that recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday has gone from two to 24 in the last two years, according to a Pew report, with Connecticut slated to add it next year.

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