Press Releases


Washington, DC – Rep.Don Bacon (NE-02) yesterday voted in favor of S. 475, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which designates Juneteenth (June 19) a federal holiday. The vote passed 415-14. 

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to ensure African American slaves were freed, despite the Emancipation Proclamation being signed two years prior. Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to deliver the address and declare that “all persons held as salves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

“I voted to make Juneteenth a holiday because we need to remember the slaves who were not freed until June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed,” said Rep. Bacon.“For many of our ancestral Americans, this was their Independence Day. The dream of America is that ‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ Juneteenth is a historic milestone for America in living up to this dream.”

 “The Omaha Branch of the NAACP commends Congressman Bacon for his vote and support of the Juneteenth bill. The fight for social justice and civil rights; the freedom for all continues,” said Vickie R. Young, president, Omaha Branch-NAACP.

 “This is just the catalyst towards addressing justice reform, economic equality, and opportunities for all,” added Rep. Bacon. 

Rep. Bacon has worked on the following legislative items to enhance racial equity:

  • Introduced the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act. The bipartisan legislation would eliminate the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and retroactively apply it to those already convicted or sentenced. 81% of individuals convicted of crack cocaine offenses in 2019 were Black, while historically 66% of crack cocaine users have been white or Hispanic. 
  • Cosponsored the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act which, among other things, includes the development of programs to acknowledge the impact of slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States.
  • Introduced Anti-lynching legislation which establishes a new criminal civil rights violation for lynching. Specifically, a person who conspires to commit certain civil rights offenses (e.g., a hate crime act) is subject to criminal penalties.
  • Cosponsored the National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act which provides incentives for hate crime reporting, provides grants for State-run hate crime hotlines, and establishes additional penalties for individuals convicted under the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • Cosponsored H.R. 943, the Never Again Education Act into law. This is a bipartisan bill that provides our nation’s teachers with additional resources and training to teach our children the important lessons of the Holocaust and the consequences of intolerance and hate.
  • Led the charge through the National Defense Authorization Act to rename military bases currently names for Confederate leaders. 
  • Cosponsored the Bridging Agency Data Gaps and Ensuring Safety for Native Communities Act which modifies policies and procedures related to information sharing, reporting and investigation of missing, unidentified, and murdered Native Americans.