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Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Feb 12, 2019

WHEREAS, on this day each year we honor the memory of Elizabeth Peratrovich, who was born in Petersburg, Alaska, on July 4, 1911, and a member of the Lukaaxh.adi Clan of the Raven moiety of the Tlingit nation. Elizabeth Peratrovich influenced our great state in profound and immeasurable ways; and

WHEREAS, always a strong and inspirational Alaskan, Elizabeth quickly grew into the role of a bold young activist and outstanding leader in an era when Alaska and nation needed one; and

WHEREAS, during the early 1940s, in her capacity as the Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand President, she gained a broad audience and became the champion of the civil rights movement in Alaska, leading the march toward equality ahead of much of the nation; and

WHEREAS, in 1945, in her testimony concerning HB 14, the Anti-Discrimination Act, Ms. Peratrovich confidently challenged the Territorial Legislature, stating, when asked whether the bill would end discrimination, “No law will eliminate crimes, but at least you as legislators can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak your intent to help us overcome discrimination”; and

WHEREAS, her inspiring words helped gain the legislative support needed for the passage of the Bill, which was approved by the Territorial Legislature on February 6, 1945, nearly two decades before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted on the federal level; and

WHEREAS, the passage of HB 14 marked the end of an era, and the beginning of a bright new chapter for all Alaskans, one resulting largely from the faithful and unrelenting advocacy of Elizabeth and her husband, Roy; and

WHEREAS, in 1988, the Alaska State Legislature passed a bill designating February 16 of each year as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day in Alaska, to honor and celebrate Elizabeth’s profound influence on our state.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Michael J. Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim February 16, 2019 as:

Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate her great influence on Alaska, and consider their role in carrying forward the principles of justice and equality she so admirably exemplified.

Dated: February 12, 2019