Cities Across Texas Commemorate The End of Slavery With Juneteenth Celebrations

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 19, 2017 12:28 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Support for regulating access to bathrooms for transgender Texans is growing among the state’s Republicans, according to a new poll out today from the University of Texas at Austin and The Texas Tribune.

The number of Republicans who thought a so-called “bathroom bill” was important increased by 13 percentage points from February to June.

UT pollster Jim Henson says while the Texas Senate, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, will continue to press the issue, it’s not clear what that level of support means for efforts in the Texas House, which has been more skeptical.

“It has slipped more strongly into a partisan frame and that probably will increase pressure at least somewhat. I don’t know that it’s going to increase pressure enough to change the minds of the leadership in the House,” Henson says. 

Overall, 44 percent of Texas’ voters consider the measure important.

Transgender bathroom access is one of the issues state lawmakers will take up again when they meet for a special session starting July 18th.

A Democrat officially launched a campaign to become Texas Lieutenant Governor over the weekend.

The Texas Democratic Party had announced in March that Mike Collier, a former accountant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, would run.

He was the 2014 Democratic nominee for Texas Comptroller.

Today is Juneteenth, which marks the day – June 19, 1865 – that the news slavery had ended reached Galveston, more than two years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Events celebrating the state holiday have been held all over Texas.

KACU’s Joy Bonala spoke with the organizer of the Abilene Juneteenth Celebration about her personal connection to the day:

Sienna Miller has a photograph of her great, great, great grandmother, an African-American woman named Harriet Vaughn Sims. In the photograph, a bouquet of flowers covers her left hand. Miller says that’s because three of her fingers were cut off as a way to brand her.

“There are some true, hard realities of what the slaves had to go through in order for us to all be where we are today. We’re still on that path of journey. A journey of healing and becoming free both physically and mentally,” Miller says.

Miller is now the Chair of the Abilene Juneteenth Celebration, and she’s organizing a three-day event to honor the state holiday.

“Even though we mark the celebration, we’re going to talk about the truth of the matter because it’s a very painful, very ugly history,” she says.

Miller says the annual celebration is really all about teaching the younger generations.

“The story needs to continue to be told because generations die off, yet it’s important to maintain our history and the story that carries us into the present day to help us understand why things are the way they are now,” she says.