Oregon declares Juneteenth to be a state holiday starting 2021

Jun 18 2020, 5:07 pm

Oregon officials have declared June 19, commonly known as Juneteenth, to be recognized as a state holiday beginning 2021, Governor Kate Brown announced Thursday.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Even after the Proclamation, remote states like Texas were slow to adopt the freeing. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, that the remaining slave states were liberated.

Musician Pharrell Williams has been tagging and pushing state governors to adopt the date as a holiday to celebrate the freedom it provided. This has been an especially lofted topic following the death of unarmed Black man George Floyd and the cacophony of voices being heard around the world in response.

Oregon’s Kate Brown retweeted Pharell’s plea, stating that she is “officially proclaiming June 19 as Juneteenth in Oregon.”

“I will introduce a bill in 2021 to make it a state holiday,” added Brown. “Celebrating Black freedom this year is fiercely important as people around the world protest systemic racism and undeniably show that Black Lives Matter.”