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Juneteenth Day

Jun 19, 2020

WHEREAS, the State of Alaska celebrates Juneteenth, a blending of “June” and “nineteenth,” on the third Saturday in June, which is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States; and

WHEREAS, this commemoration dates back to June 19, 1865 when Union Soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the civil war had ended and that all slaves were now free. The state of Texas held the last major remnant of slavery in the country after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official in 1863; and

WHEREAS, each year on the anniversary of the Galveston announcement, cities across Alaska and the nation honor the freeing of the last slaves and celebrate African American heritage through celebrations, family gatherings, parades, historical reenactments, African American heritage exhibits, traditional musical performances, or readings by African American writers; and

WHEREAS, people from all races, nationalities, and religions join on this day to acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. It is a time for rejoicing, and also for assessment, self-improvement, and planning for the future; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth is a day on which we must acknowledge the evils of slavery, to honor and respect the devastating impact slavery imposed on African Americans and our country as a whole, and to engage in conversation to learn from our history. Let us all come together, young and old, to listen, to learn, and to grow, as well as to reaffirm our commitment to upholding the inalienable rights outlined in our nation’s constitution – the rights of liberty, dignity, and equality for all citizens.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim June 20, 2020 as:

Juneteenth Day

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to reflect on the importance of this day marking the end of slavery and to recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of guaranteeing liberty and equal rights for all Americans.