Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation to officially recognize June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth Freedom Day in the State of Minnesota to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Governor Walz is also calling on the legislature to work with community to establish a state holiday recognizing Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth marks our country’s second Independence Day, celebrating freedom and justice and emphasizing education, achievement, and tolerance,” reads Governor Walz’s proclamation. “We must do everything in our power to come together to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state so that every person in Minnesota – Black, Indigenous, Brown, and White – can be safe and thrive.”
“It took more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed for news of freedom to reach enslaved African-Americans in Texas,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Juneteenth is both a celebration and a reminder that justice does not come in one action nor is it quick. It is the work we must never stop doing.”
The proclamation notes the significance of this year’s Juneteenth Freedom Day, as Minnesota grapples with the state’s racial injustices during the 100th commemoration of the lynching of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie on June 15, 1920 in Duluth, and the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
The Minnesota Legislature would need to pass legislation to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday. The Governor is asking the state legislative leaders to work with the community to draft and advance a bill that he could sign into law.