DENVER — Juneteenth celebrations will take place across Colorado in the coming days and today Governor Polis and the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado commemorated this historic event and raised the Juneteenth flag at the State Capitol.
“We are building a Colorado for All and Colorado is made stronger by the diversity of our people. It’s our shared responsibility to foster and protect that strength. Juneteenth is a celebration of joy and one of many shining examples of what a Colorado for All looks like,” said Gov. Polis.
“Juneteenth is a commemoration of the end of slavery and honors freedom for all of us, and for the first time in Colorado history, we will celebrate this momentous day as an official state holiday,” said Senator Janet Buckner, D-Aurora. “I was incredibly proud of the work we did this session to ensure Colorado properly recognizes Juneteenth, and know that it will help educate all Coloradans about the horrors of slavery, make space to celebrate the Black community, and lift up our ongoing work to make sure we don’t forget our past.”
“This Emancipation Day reminds us of the atrocities our ancestors endured and how we must never give up hope in uncertain times,” said Rep. Herod, Chairwoman of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado, D-Denver. “Juneteenth uplifts the voices of the Black community and showcases our perseverance. I’m proud to recognize Juneteenth as Colorado’s 11th state holiday so it can finally receive all the formal celebration and reflection it deserves.”
“Juneteenth is more than just a federal holiday we recognize in historical Black communities like Five Points where we march, eat good food and listen to good music,” said Senator James Coleman, D-Denver. “Celebrating Juneteenth as a state holiday means Colorado not only recognizes that Black people are free, but that all people are free. It is a recognition that we not only desire for some Coloradans to prosper, but for all to prosper, and for all Coloradans, regardless of race or background, to earn a living wage, have an affordable place to call home, and get the equitable access to health care and education people need to move forward and thrive.”
This May at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Gov. Polis signed a new law officially recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday and was joined by bill sponsors Rep. Leslie Herod, Sen. James Coleman, Sen. Janet Buckner, members of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado, President of Colorado WINS Skip Miller, President of Juneteenth Music Festival Norman Harris, Cleo Parker Robinson, and community members.
Juneteenth was recognized as a national holiday last year by the U.S. Congress and President Joe Biden. Legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday in Colorado was first introduced this February and passed the legislature with bipartisan support. This new law was led by Senator Janet Buckner, Senator James Coleman and Representative Leslie Herod. State offices will be closed Monday June, 20, 2022 in observance of the holiday.