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New bills would ban Confederate flag from State Capitol, make Juneteenth state holiday

Protesters take down Confederate statue in Durham
Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 15:17:03-05

(WXYZ) — A state senator has introduced bills to both declare Juneteenth as a state-recognized holiday and ban the Confederate Battle Flag from the State Capitol.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

Now known as Juneteenth every year on June 19, Senate Bill 74 would make this day a state-recognized holiday.

“The ending of this dark period of our nation’s history should be celebrated,” Sen. Sylvia Santana said. “But it should also serve as a somber reminder that Black and Brown people in America continue to feel the vestiges of this barbaric system, and we still have a long way to go to end systemic racism and ensuring equal rights for all.”

The senator’s second bill, Senate Bill 75, would ban the Confederate Battle Flag from the Michigan State Capitol, including from being flown on Capitol grounds and being displayed or carried inside the building.

“The Confederate Flag is synonymous with hatred and racism and solely used to intimidate, all of which have no place at our Capitol,” Sen. Santana said. “Historically sighted at lynchings and anti-civil rights marches, this flag has more recently been seen at white supremacist rallies and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. It’s past time for us to ban it from our State Capitol, which is a place that should represent free speech and debate by all.”

Both pieces of legislation are part of an ongoing effort to expand racial justice and equity in Michigan.