WHEREAS, born on July 4, 1911 in Petersburg, Alaska, Elizabeth Peratrovich was an Alaskan Native woman of the Tlingit nation that was instrumental in the campaign against ending the discrimination that plagued the Alaska territory, and in doing so, she left a permanent mark on Alaska’s history; and
WHEREAS, despite becoming citizens in 1924, fighting in World War II, and paying taxes, Alaska Natives were consistently discriminated against and restricted on where they could live, receive medical care, and attend school; and
WHEREAS, Elizabeth and her husband, Roy, fought for their campaign tirelessly, and after four years of penning legislation, enlisting the help of other Alaska Natives, and lobbying territorial legislators for support, their anti-discrimination bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate in 1945; and
WHEREAS, on February 16, 1945, after a two-hour long hearing, Elizabeth stood and delivered an impassioned and eloquent speech that garnered the support needed, and finally, the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 was passed, making it the first anti-discrimination law in Alaskan history and the first of its kind enacted in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Elizabeth continued her humanitarian work championing civil rights until her death on December 1, 1958 at the age of 47. Many consider her the face of civil rights in Alaska, and in 2020, the United States Mint issued five-million $1 gold coins honoring Elizabeth and the passing of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945; and
WHEREAS, Elizabeth Peratrovich left behind a strong and inspiring legacy, and she will forever be a woman of distinction, exceptional courage, and a beacon of hope to many. Each year on February 16, we honor and celebrate her life and her contributions to freedom and equality. This is a day for all people to reaffirm their belief in the principles of social equality and respect for all.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim February 16, 2023 as:
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Elizabeth Peratrovich for her courageous, unceasing efforts to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska.
Dated: February 16, 2023