WHEREAS, Juneteenth National Freedom Day celebrates the events of June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, bringing news that the Civil War had ended and that the Emancipation Proclamation declared all slaves to be free; and WHEREAS, in Texas and throughout the South, Juneteenth celebrations begin on June 19th of each year – consisting of prayer services, inspirational speeches, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, food, games, and dances; and
WHEREAS, in 1997, during the 105th United States Congress, House Joint Resolution 56 and Senate Joint Resolution 11 were passed, officially recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth reflects our Commonwealth’s deep belief in liberty and equality for every citizen; and
WHEREAS, Virginians benefit from a greater understanding and appreciation of various life experiences; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth commemorates the strength and resolve of African-Americans throughout our history, and is an opportunity to celebrate African-American culture, art, history, and achievement;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 19, 2019, as the JUNETEENTH NATIONAL FREEDOM DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.