ANNAPOLIS — German-Americans and Irish-Americans will go another year without official recognition from Maryland, as bills proposing dedication of October as German-American Month and March as Irish-American Month both failed during this year’s General Assembly session.
May was not named Lyme Disease Awareness Month, either.
These are just some of the bills that would have mandated new holidays or commemorations but failed to get through the House of Delegates and Senate, leaving the people they honor to go unrecognized yet another year.
Marylanders also missed the chance to officially celebrate Maryland Centenarians Day on the second Thursday in May, and Young Heroes Day the first Monday of October. And June 19 will not be proclaimed Juneteenth National Freedom Day by the governor as a day to commemorate the end of slavery.
While some of these holidays are recognized by individual groups, they are not recognized as such in state law.
Another potential celebration that came to the attention of the General Assembly in several forms was in honor of Harriet Tubman. Six different pieces of legislation were introduced between the House and the Senate this session that would have created a Harriet Tubman Day in some form, but none passed in both chambers.
While the holiday will not become official this year, Tubman did not go entirely without recognition, as the General Assembly passed a bill authorizing the gift of a Harriet Tubman statue to the U.S. government.
“She’s a Marylander, it’s historical,” said Sen. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore, and chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus. “We want something in the state of Maryland that would honor her contribution.”
The state also rejected St. David’s Day, which would have taken place on March 1 to honor the patron saint of Wales on his feast day.
However, not every proposed holiday or commemoration was a failure.
A bill proposing April 3 as Crime Victim and Advocate Commemorative Day passed in both houses, officially dedicating the day to crime victims and those who serve them. While the day will be proclaimed as such, no particular methods of recognition were named in the bill.
“The state recognizes the day then different organizations figure out how to recognize it,” said Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s, who sponsored the bill. “I think it’s important to not forget about the victims of crime and draw attention to those who advocate for them.”