WA and Idaho officials support Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday

Explainer: The Story Of Juneteenth, The New Federal Holiday

FILE - This updated handout photo provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, shows a signed copy of Emancipation Proclamation. The rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln and then-Secretary of State William Seward will be displayed when Illinois lawmakers sign a Juneteenth holiday into law. Illinois became the latest state to make Juneteenth an official state holiday as Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure Wednesday, June 16, 2021, near the signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

SPOKANE, Wash. — With Juneteenth officially becoming a federal holiday, several Washington state and Idaho elected officials released statements in support of it.

“Today, we have finally recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday. This day is an opportunity for Americans to reflect on the history of slavery and its impact on the United States,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell. “This is an important step, and we must continue to fight for racial justice.”

Sen. Patty Murray released a statement as well, calling it a positive step towards “reckoning with the systemic racism that Black Americans have faced for centuries, and an opportunity for us to redouble our efforts to bring about meaningful policy changes in our laws, systems, and institutions.”

“So many Black Americans have celebrated this important day for years and I’m glad it will finally be a federal holiday,” Murray said. “Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the end of slavery, but it is also a day to remember our country’s very real history of slavery, racial oppression, and injustice—and the systemic racism that stems from this history that continues to harm Black Americans today.”

Also, Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued a proclamation recognizing June 19 as a new public holiday, and the State of Idaho executive branch will observe the holiday on June 18.

“Juneteenth marks the celebration of not just a moment in the past but also a renewed shared commitment to uniting as Americans to ensure equality and opportunity are a reality for all Americans, in the present and the future,” Little said on his Facebook page.

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