June 19, 2019: Juneteenth Celebration Day

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

WHEREAS, this year marks the 15th 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, this tradition of celebration has remained strong well into the 21st century to recognize the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery and to honor 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, it is imperative that citizens across the state join together to acknowledge a time in our history that carried on the nation’s ideals of equality and democracy and celebrate the joys of liberty and justice for every American citizen;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2019, as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan. I 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