SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Governor Spencer Cox has declared June 19 as Juneteenth in Utah.
Releasing his declaration as President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, Gov. Cox states, “we recognize there is still progress to be made in ensuring racial equity for all.”
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
Within his declaration, Gov. Cox mentions the state announced the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, a declaration of five principles and actions to create equal opportunity.
The governor clarified Thursday afternoon, saying that while Juneteenth is a federal holiday, it is not a state holiday within Utah. That would require approval from the state legislature.
Saturday, June 19, Salt Lake City will hold multiple celebrations to mark Juneteenth.
Gov. Cox recently became the first Utah governor to recognize LGBTQ+ Pride Month.