|Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On September 22, 1862, with the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln changed the legal status of enslaved black people in the Confederate states from a slave to a free people, a status previously only enjoyed by white people. As bold a move as this was, the news of emancipation took several years to spread. Being the most remote of the Confederate States, Texas had not enforced the proclamation for roughly two and a half years.
June 19th marks the day that Union Army General Gordon Granger announced to Texas, in the city of Galveston, federal orders that ended slavery. This day is commemorated by the name Juneteenth, which was created by combining June with the 19th day. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Liberation Day. Texas established Juneteenth as a state holiday under legislation effective January 1, 1980.
As Governor Brown recently acknowledged, it is time for the State of Oregon, as well as the rest of the nation, to begin to recognize and commemorate true American history.
"This year, celebrating Black freedom and achievement on Juneteenth is more important than ever as people across Oregon, the United States, and around the world protest systemic racism and unequivocally show that Black Lives Matter," Brown said.
I support Governor Brown's efforts for Juneteenth becoming a state holiday. Oregon can show leadership in this undertaking and commemorate a day all America celebrates.
As mayor, I encourage all of us to recognize and understand the significance of not only Juneteenth, but American history that has led us to this 2020 awakening. We acknowledge our past and now we work towards a future that only unity, respect and appreciation can bring. To the countless supporters, organizers and attendees of Juneteenth celebrations hosted all across this nation and beyond, you are writing the history of our country and our world – there can be no greater honor than that. We thank you.
WE CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH!
Kenneth Gibson, Mayor
City of King City