Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday issued a proclamation declaring June 19, 2020 as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Celebrated each year on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, and is an opportunity to reflect on the need to continue working toward racial justice.
“Juneteenth is a chance for us all to reflect on this country’s painful history of slavery and the systemic impact that racial injustice continues to have today,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “It is also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the goal of creating a more equal and just society. As our country continues the national conversation around racial injustice, it is especially important that we recognize Juneteenth. I look forward to working with our legislative colleagues to recognize this important day more widely going forward.”
Juneteenth is recognized each year on June 19. On that day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his Union troops landed in Galveston, TX and announced that the Civil War had ended. Major General Gordon read a proclamation declaring that all enslaved people were free. The first Juneteenth was celebrated a year later in Texas and today is recognized across the country to mark this important milestone.
State Law states, “The governor shall annually issue a proclamation setting apart the nineteenth of June as Juneteenth Independence Day, to be observed on the Sunday that is closest to June 19 of each year, in recognition of June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwestern United States and in recognition of the end of slavery in the United States as well as the significant contributions individuals of African descent have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States and recommending that said day be observed in an appropriate manner by the people.”