DENVER — Juneteenth is now Colorado’s 11th official state holiday after Gov. Jared Polis signed the designation into law on Monday.
Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The holiday recognizes June 19, when Major General Gordon Granger announced slaves in Texas were free in 1865.
The announcement came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation.
“It’s long past time to make Juneteenth a Colorado state holiday,” said Sen. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, who helped lead the effort. “I am proud to champion this important legislation, which will help educate all Coloradans about the horrors of slavery, make space to celebrate the Black community, and lift up our ongoing work to make sure we don’t forget our past.”
> Video above: Denver celebrates Juneteenth in a big way, aired June 18, 2021.
RELATED: What is Juneteenth?
Senate Bill 139, which recognizes the holiday, passed the state House in a 61-2 vote in April and the state Senate in a 32-1 vote in March. The three Republican lawmakers who opposed the bill did not explain the reason behind their “no” votes on the floor.
In the videos below, learn about the symbolism of the Juneteenth flag and watch last year's Denver's Juneteenth celebration:
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