WEST CHESTER (June 17, 2020) – Juneteenth, the cultural holiday marking the abolishment of slavery in the United States, will have added meaning this year, state Senator Andy Dinniman said.

“Recent days and weeks have brought a much-needed focus and urgency to the conversation about race in America and the desperate need for change and equity in our public institutions,” Dinniman said. “At times like these, we must remember our history. We must reflect on our past and understand the way it’s shaped the present if we are to succeed in working together to create a better future for all.”

One of the oldest African-American holiday observances in the United States, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day on which news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the furthest point in the south, Galveston, Texas. Enslaved people there were previously unaware of the proclamation, despite its enactment nearly two years earlier.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished. According to historical accounts, Granger’s announcement kicked off widespread celebration as the news traveled across the state.

Each year, Dinniman has supported and co-sponsored Senate Resolutions recognizing June 19 as “Juneteenth” in Pennsylvania.

Last year, Pennsylvania joined about 40 other states in passing Act 9, officially designating June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in Pennsylvania.

Juneteenth celebrations have enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, and several Juneteenth organizations have taken part in spreading this important tradition across the nation.

“Juneteenth is an important day in American history and one that calls on all Pennsylvanians to reflect on the struggle for freedom and live up to our ongoing responsibility to build a nation where we understand, appreciate, and fight for the self-evident truth that all are created equal,” Dinniman said.