DENVER, CO – Earlier today, the House passed a bill on Third and Final Reading to make Juneteenth a Colorado state holiday. SB22-139, championed by Representative Leslie Herod and members of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado, commemorates the day when enslaved Black people were freed after Union Soldiers arrived in Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Juneteenth celebrations have existed in Colorado for generations, it’s time we make our celebration official with a state holiday,” said Chairwoman of the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado, Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “I’m proud of our tremendous efforts that went into giving the Juneteenth holiday the statewide recognition it deserves. The historical legacy of Juneteenth educates Coloradans about the horrors of slavery and celebrates the perseverance of our Black ancestors, and I couldn’t be happier to champion this important legislation.”
“Juneteenth is our country’s second Independence Day and I’m proud we’re making it an official state holiday,” said Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “This important emancipation day has been celebrated by the Black community for years and reminds us all of our freedom. Juneteenth recognizes the atrocities of slavery, educates Coloradans on the past and uplifts the voices of the Black community.”
The House passed SB22-139 by a vote of 61 to 2. This legislation would make Juneteenth an official state holiday. Juneteenth National Independence Day commemorates June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger and Union Soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and declare the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people. Juneteenth is also known as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day.
This significant day in history became the 11th federal holiday in June 2021 and is also known as the country’s second Independence Day.