Brown makes Juneteenth holiday official in Oregon

Politics

Governor says observance is 'long overdue'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN / AP) — Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed HB 2168 into law Saturday, making Juneteenth an official holiday in Oregon.

The move follows President Joe Biden signing legislation on Thursday that established a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

“This is long overdue, and we still have a lot of work to do to better protect and support Black Oregonians,” Brown tweeted Saturday. “Thank you Clara Peoples, Jenelle Jack, and all of the legislators who supported this bill.”

The U.S. government announced Thursday that most federal government employees will observe the new holiday Friday because June 19 falls on Saturday this year.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. One of the federal holidays, Inauguration Day, happens every four years.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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