Rabb highlights Emancipation Day legislation

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., on this day, the first Monday of February, is highlighting his legislation, H.B. 296, which would establish the first Monday of February as “Emancipation Day” in the commonwealth.

“In theory, the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments — otherwise known as the Reconstruction Amendments — should have led to the expansion of civil rights for Black Americans, but in practice we know that not to be the case. Black Americans have had to fight every step of the way and are still fighting to this day for true emancipation,” Rabb said. “As the axiom goes: ‘nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’”

Rabb said the bill would acknowledge the ongoing struggle for Black liberation in a society that still poses threats and allows barriers to persist against the advancement of Black people and allied communities of struggle.

Rabb reintroduced the bill on Feb. 2, 2023, and it was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support by the House State Government Committee on Nov. 14, 2023. It awaits a vote on the House floor.