LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation Wednesday declaring June 19 as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan.

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas to tell the enslaved they were free.

This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863.

“Juneteenth is a crucial day in our nation’s history to remember how far we have come and recognize how far we still have to go,”  said Whitmer. “During a time when communities of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and when the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have shone a light on the systemic racism Black Americans face every day, we must work together to build a more equitable and just Michigan. I’m proud to declare June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth Celebration Day, and will continue to work tirelessly to create a state that is equal for all.”

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II says Michiganders across the state continue to fight for their freedom and the freedom of others.

“This day, which marks when the final group of Black Americans understood that they were free, is an important reminder of the work that must continue to be done to deliver equity and opportunity to every community. I am committed to working every day to build a state that is representative and responsive to the people we serve,” he said.

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