House OK’s Bill Declaring Juneteenth a State Holiday

[AUDIO] More than 150 years after news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the last slave state on June 19, 1865, lawmakers in Washington are on track to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday. . Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.

Ever since General Gordon Blanchard steamed into Galveston Bay on June 19, 1865, bearing news of emancipation, Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth as the day slavery effectively ended in the United States. More than 150 years later, Juneteenth is poised to become an official state holiday in Washington. Other lawmakers have tried before, but state Representative Melanie Morgan looks like the one who’s going to make it happen.

MORGAN: “Slavery did happen in this country. Today, we can take a step toward racial reconciliation and healing by acknowledging Black pain and Black trauma. African Americans deserve to have their history remembered. I think the time is now.”

Morgan, a Democrat from Parkland in Pierce County, sponsored the bill that would make Juneteenth Washington’s eleventh official holiday. Her bill passed out of the House Thursday afternoon on an 89-to-nine vote and heads to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass easily. Reporting from Olympia, Dan Frizzell.