In a recent interview GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called Juneteenth a "useless" holiday.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed enslaved Black people that they were free.
This news came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, but it was the first time that enslaved people in Texas learned that they were free.
Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate, has come under fire for comments he made in Iowa on Saturday. Ramaswamy said that Juneteenth should be canceled to make room for a national voting holiday.
When asked do you think Juneteenth is a useless holiday, Ramaswamy said “I basically do”.
“And so, I think that if we made a national commemorative holiday for everything that's important and happened in our history, we'd have no working days left.
"But I think the spirit of Juneteenth we already channeled into other holidays, like Martin Luther King Day, like President's Day”.
“I think we can commemorate the spirit of that holiday separately. So, I think that we shouldn't have redundant holidays that celebrate overlapping purposes that should have a distinct purpose".
"And I think, let's be honest, the reason for making that a holiday was under political duress, the political hostage situation on the back of the death of George Floyd”.
Black Political Opinion:
Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill had been introduced in Congress in 2019, but it did not pass until after the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Regardless of one's opinion of Ramaswamy's comments, if you have followed his campaign thus far, you have no doubt observed he pretty much comes straight out with his opinions. There’s no political doublespeak with him. That’s sort of refreshing.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of politicians engaging in virtue signaling when it comes to race politics. This often takes the form of supporting symbolic gestures like reparations tasks forces, monuments etc. While these gestures may seem well-intentioned, they can often be seen as empty and meaningless.
Contrary to what Ramaswamy said about the holiday sort of being made up and not having been time tested, Juneteenth has been celebrated in Texas since 1866, and has gradually spread to other parts of the country. In 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth a holiday. Since then, many other states have followed suit.
Juneteenth is a version of Independence Day for Blacks and is a reminder of the long and difficult journey that Black Americans have taken to achieve freedom and equality in this country.
Congress and Joe Biden used the momentum for racial justice after George Floyds death to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
It's clear that the holiday is an important one for Black America.
Black Political Opinion is a multi-part opinion-editorial series that looks at various political topics, news, and views, from the perspective of a Black female, conservative leaning Independent.
Read More Black Political Opinion: