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Gov. Whitmer Signs Proclamation?Marking Juneteenth Celebration Day


June 18, 2021 



Gov. Whitmer Signs Proclamation?Marking Juneteenth Celebration Day 


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation declaring June 19th as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States. Yesterday, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday.  


"Juneteenth is an essential day of remembrance and a recognition of how far we still have to go to achieve our ideals of equity and racial justice in Michigan," said Governor Whitmer. "Over the past year, we have had long-overdue conversations about race and equity amidst an unprecedented global pandemic and shocking yet routine instances of violence and discrimination towards communities of color, especially Black Americans. Our racial reckoning reminds us that it our responsibility, whether we are citizens or public servants, to change our laws and root out systemic racism in every aspect of our society from healthcare, housing, education, policing, and more. I'm proud to declare June 19 as Juneteenth Celebration Day once again, and want to recommit us all to building a more equitable and just Michigan. " 


"Juneteenth is an important day to commemorate the progress we've made in the fight for racial equity, while also recommitting ourselves to the ongoing work that still needs to be done," said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II"As a Black man in America, I know the pain of racism and injustice personally. Far too many Black Americans and other people of color continue to suffer as the result of racism and discrimination that communities of color face every dayBlack Michiganders deserve a state that celebrates, listens to, informs, and empowers themI will work every day to advocate for policies that protect and expand access to justice and opportunity." 


"Source Booksellers is pleased to participate in the State of Michigan Juneteenth Virtual program," said Janet Webster Jones of Source Booksellers. "Acknowledgement of celebrations of the "news" that freedom had come to the enslaved persons in Texas June 19, 1865, two years and six months after the Emancipation Proclamation.  Recognition of this event and many others across the country brings our minds to think about the impact that the news had on both the enslaved and those who were not.  Michigan was deeply engaged in the union side of the Civil War so Juneteenth is another way to acknowledge our past as citizens of the State of Michigan."  


Juneteenth originated on June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, where he read General Order #3, stating that all slaves were free, and that former masters and slaves were absolutely equal in personal and property rights. Acting as the date of emancipation, June 19th also became a long-standing day of celebration, meant to honor African-American resilience and the end of slavery. 


Since day one, both Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II have been committed to making Michigan a more equitable state. The governor appointed the most diverse cabinet in Michigan's history to ensure that government is more representative of all Michiganders.  


Last year, Governor Whitmer established the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities by Executive Order 2020-55 to study the causes of racial disparities and recommend actions to address the historical and systemic inequities. To date, the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force has focused on two goals: one to reduce the disparities in the mortality rate of COVID-19, and the second to connect those interventions to more extended term efforts.  


Additionally, Lt. Governor Gilchrist launched his 'Making Real Change' Tour across Michigan to highlight the administration's continued efforts to flatten and eliminate racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on what the state has learned to apply those lessons to equitably administering vaccines and building the resilience required to reduce racial disparities in health and other areas within communities.     


Michigan is a national leader in recognizing and addressing disparities that affect the equitable provision of health care. Last year, upon recommendation by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2020-07 which directed LARA to begin promulgating rules that incorporated an implicit bias training requirement. LARA recently announced implicit bias training requirements for the licensure or registration of health care professionals in Michigan to improve equity across Michigan's health care system.  


View the full proclamation here.