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Gov. Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist sign Juneteenth Proclamation

Juneteenth marks the day that slavery was abolished in 1865 after the last remaining slaves were freed in Texas.
Credit: AP
FILE - Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces the first round of Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grants on Sept. 15, 2021, at the GM Mobility Research Center at Kettering University in Flint, Mich. The plot to kidnap Whitmer represents a growing anger in U.S. politics, and violence – both physical and non-physical – that is disproportionately aimed at women elected officials and candidates, and particularly women of color. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II issued a proclamation declaring June 19th as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan.

Juneteenth marks the day that slavery was abolished in 1865 after the last remaining slaves were freed in Texas.

“We are proud to celebrate Juneteenth as an official state holiday for the first time,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Today presents an important opportunity to celebrate and elevate the stories of Black Americans as we continue to make record investments in communities of color. Since we took office, the lieutenant governor and I have prioritized building a state representative and responsive to the people we serve, addressing racial disparities and improving equity across Michigan. I am proud to declare June 19th as Juneteenth Celebration Day, and I am committed to working with anyone to build a more equitable and just state for all Michiganders.”  

"Juneteenth marks a crucial day in our nation’s history to recognize the important progress we’ve made, while committing ourselves to the ongoing effort to center equity in all our work and make Michigan a place where every person can succeed,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. "As the first Black lieutenant governor in our state, I’m building the policies and practices that will address and undo the damage racism and injustice has caused on our communities. That’s why we continue to invest in schools, job training, environmental justice, infrastructure and supporting businesses – all transformational investments and policies that celebrate, support and uplift communities of color. I am proud of the progress we’ve made thus far and will continue to work every day to make sure every all Michiganders have the support and opportunities they need."

The Juneteenth celebration began on June 19, 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. Granger read General Order #3, stating that all slaves were free and that former masters and slaves were absolutely equal in personal and property rights. And because of that order being read and the remaining slaves being freed, June 19th became a long-standing day of celebration, meant to honor African American resilience and the end of slavery. 

You can read the full proclamation here:

WHEREAS, Juneteenth is a holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, this year marks the 17th annual State of Michigan Juneteenth Freedom Day Recognition; and,

WHEREAS, when Union Army General Gordon Granger landed at the Texas port city of Galveston in 1865 as the Civil War drew to a close, one of his first actions was to read General Order #3, which stated that all slaves are free and that former masters and slaves have absolute equality of personal and property rights; and,

WHEREAS, following his statement, June 19th (Juneteenth) became the emancipation date of those long suffering for freedom; and,

WHEREAS, since then, as the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in America, the tradition of celebrating Juneteenth has remained strong well into the 21st century, recognizing the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery and honoring the strength, endurance, and faith of African American ancestors; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2005, Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed legislation officially designating the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Michigan, and Senator Martha G. Scott sponsored Senate Bill 384 to recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation officially designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday; and,

WHEREAS, this year, we are proud to celebrate Juneteenth as an official state holiday for the first time; and,

WHEREAS, it is imperative that we continue to work towards a more equitable and just Michigan and ensure the joys of liberty and justice for every resident of our state;

NOW, THEREFORE, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, and Garlin Gilchrist II, lieutenant governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2022, as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan. We encourage all citizens in the State of Michigan to participate in the Juneteenth Freedom Festival and celebrate African American history and culture, while continuing to promote diversity, equality, and a strong sense of community in our state.

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