Governor Kelly Announces Juneteenth to be Observed as a State Holiday
Joe Denoyer - October 10, 2023 10:48 am
TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced that Kansas will designate Juneteenth as a state holiday, joining 28 other states and the District of Columbia.
“Juneteenth marks a significant point our nation’s history and has long been celebrated in Kansas and across the United States,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday provides Kansans an opportunity to celebrate our state’s diversity and honor the ongoing struggles for racial equality.”
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the last enslaved Americans received word that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery more than 2 years after the end of the Civil War. Governor Kelly has issued proclamations recognizing Juneteenth every year since 2020.
“I am thrilled that Juneteenth will be a state holiday,” said Stacey Knoell, Executive Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission. “This day is a perfect example of the importance of learning the full picture of history, not to cast blame but to find reasons for acknowledging resilience. I hope this day can become one where Kansans can unite in celebration.”
In 2021, Juneteenth became the first federal holiday created in more than 40 years. Since then, Kansas’ neighboring states of Nebraska, Missouri, and Colorado have also established Juneteenth as a state holiday. The holiday will apply to Executive Branch employees under Governor Kelly’s jurisdiction.