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August 20, 2022: Freedom Summer Remembrance Day

WHEREAS, the third Saturday of the month of August was chosen for Freedom Summer Remembrance Day to acknowledge volunteers from Michigan who, in the summer of 1964, risked their lives during Freedom Summer; and,

WHEREAS, Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a 1964 voter registration drive aimed at increasing the number of registered Black voters in Mississippi. Hundreds of volunteers, many of them college students from northern states, joined the fight in Mississippi against voter intimidation and discrimination at the polls, a systematic exclusion of Black people in America from the political process; and,

WHEREAS, volunteers were met by extraordinary violence, including murders, bombings, kidnappings, and torture. Much of this violence was covered on national television and focused the country’s attention on civil rights issues; and,

WHEREAS, Freedom Summer raised the consciousness of millions of people to the plight of Black people in America and the need for change. Public outrage helped spur the U.S. Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and,

WHEREAS, on this day, we recognize the contributions of volunteer workers from Michigan who risked their lives for the cause of voting rights in America;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim August 20, 2022 as Freedom Summer Remembrance Day in Michigan.