NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Thursday signed legislation (S19), which designates the third Friday in June as a State and public holiday, known as Juneteenth Day. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved people of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom.
“It gives me great pride to celebrate emancipation and New Jersey’s great diversity by designating Juneteenth as an official State holiday.” Murphy said. “Commemorating this date is just one component of our collective approach to end a generational cycle of pain and injustice that has gone on for far too long. Every Juneteenth, we will celebrate the end of the physical chains which once held Black Americans down. While more work lies ahead to undo the oppression that remains, Juneteenth is important marker that reminds us of our mission to create a society that enables our Black communities to achieve the full equality which they deserve.”
“Juneteenth has always been an important day in the African American community. It represents a day of true liberation of Black people from slavery in America. It’s also a reminder that centuries later, not all of us are treated equally and that freedom and democracy are not a given. Our fight for civil rights and freedom from discrimination and oppression continues today,” said Lt. Governor Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Now, Juneteenth will forever be observed and celebrated so that we can collectively reflect upon the indelible mark that slavery has left on our country as we fight for meaningful reforms. I commend and thank Governor Murphy and the legislators who have chosen to make Juneteenth a State holiday.”
“I am a direct descendant of slavery. My great grandmother, my great-great grandmother, that is my family. It is not even a past stain,” said SZA. “It is a current reality that we are living through the post traumatic slave syndrome, the PTSD, and the effects of that currently, right now. Thank you, Governor Murphy for this.”
“Juneteenth marks a day of freedom for Black Americans who suffered the cruelty of slavery and an opportunity to honor the history and contributions of African Americans,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said. “This takes on greater significance as the entire country is confronting the racism and inequality that is the bitter legacy of slavery. We can use June 19th and the days that follow to undue past harms and renew our commitment to justice and equality for all.”