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Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Feb 16, 2024

WHEREAS, born July 4, 1911, in Petersburg, Alaska, Elizabeth Peratrovich was an Alaska Native woman of the Tlingit nation who 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, in 1945 their anti-discrimination bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate; 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 to pass the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, which was the first anti-discrimination law in Alaskan history and the first of its kind enacted in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Elizabeth continued 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 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.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim February 16, 2024 as:

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Elizabeth Peratrovich and her work to eliminate discrimination and bring about equal rights in Alaska, and to reaffirm their belief in the principles of social equality and respect for all.

Dated: February 16, 2024