Today, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that would declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. The recognition of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States by the government will now carry the same status as other federally recognized dates such as Thanksgiving and Memorial Day. The vote was initially passed in the House 415-14 on Tuesday, June 15th.

Con­gres­sional lead­ers from both par­ties said that es­tab­lish­ing the hol­i­day was an im­por­tant ges­ture in rec­og­niz­ing those who suf­fered un­der Amer­i­can slav­ery and as an act of racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. June­teenth would be the first fed­eral hol­i­day to be cre­ated by Con­gress since 1983, when law­mak­ers des­ig­nated the third Mon­day in Jan­uary as Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of the slain civil-rights leader.

This law is to be effective immediately.