One of Indiana's two U.S. senators is backing a bipartisan proposal to establish June 19 — Juneteenth — as an annual federal holiday.
U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., has signed on as an original cosponsor to Senate Bill 4019 making "Juneteenth National Independence Day" a legal public holiday.
"The designation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday is long overdue," Young said.
"The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act is an important step in recognizing how far we have come, and how far we still must go in the fight for equality."
Altogether, 48 Democratic and Republican senators are cosponsors of the plan, including U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both D-Ill.
Indiana's other senator, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., has not agreed to cosponsor the Juneteenth legislation, which is awaiting action by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.
A similar proposal, House Bill 7232, is pending in the Democratic-controlled House.
Earlier this month, the Senate also approved a resolution recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth, and encouraging all Americans to learn more about the past and to work to understand the experiences that shaped the United States, including the end of slavery.
Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States following the 1865 Union victory over the rebellious southern states in the American Civil War.