Juneteenth proclaimed a day of observance in Friday Harbor

Submitted by The Town of Friday Harbor:

During the regular town council meeting on June 16, The Town of Friday Harbor proclaimed Juneteenth Day a day of observance.

Juneteenth became a national holiday last year. The day honors the day Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Texas announcing the end of the Civil War and slavery.

The proclamation reads as follows:

WHEREAS, on New Year’s Day of 1863, using his war powers as President, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all persons held as slaves within rebellious states “are, and henceforward, shall be free”; and

WHEREAS, word about the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation was delayed in reaching the authorities and African-Americans in the South and Southwestern United States. On June 19, 1865, almost 2 ½ years later, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of both the Civil War and slavery, with this message:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages; and

WHEREAS, those Black Texans began the celebration of Juneteenth, with community events such as parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, musical performances and historical-cultural readings; some communities purchased land for Juneteenth celebrations, such as Emancipation Park in Houston, TX; and as freed families emigrated from Texas to other parts of the United States, they carried the Juneteenth celebration with them; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1866, mostly by Black Americans; yet it’s a day that’s worthy of celebration by every American, as it represents a critical turning point in American history, not just Black history. It is the day that we as a people finally began to live up to one of the greatest principles we professed: a nation devoted to liberty for all; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Friday Harbor fully recognizes the intrinsic value of celebrating Juneteenth Day. Its observance promotes social justice for the sake of our collective prosperity and acknowledges that there remains much work to be done to address equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be marginalized.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Raymont C. Jackson, by the virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2022, as

Juneteenth Day of Observance

FURTHER, I encourage all citizens to promote harmony and equality, respect the rights of all people, and embrace the cultural diversity of our Town.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand

and caused the Seal of the Town of Friday Harbor to

be affixed this 16th day of June 2022.