Juneteenth officially a state holiday in Washington
Supporters call it an historic day for efforts to end systemic racism and create a more equitable Washington as Gov. Inslee has officially made Juneteenth a legal state holiday.
“My hope is that Juneteenth will be a holiday celebrated by all Washingtonians, like July 4th, a holiday that brings us together in fellowship,” said Democratic Rep. Melanie Morgan.
June 19 will now be a paid holiday for state employees, but Morgan, who is also a member of the Black Caucus, says it’s about much more than that.
“This is commemorating the end of chattel slavery,” she said.
She says creating the holiday is a continuation of their work started last year with the state equity office.
“This says we belong as Black African-Americans, that we are human. And I believe it’s another step toward declaring Washington state as an anti-racist state,” Morgan said.
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers told the last Black slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were free — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott contributed to this report.