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State and local communities recognize Juneteenth holiday marking end of slavery


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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho will observe the new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, Gov. Brad Little said in a proclamation issued Thursday.

The Republican governor said the state will recognize Juneteenth, or June 19, as required by Idaho law when a new federal holiday is created.

Little said state offices will be closed Friday because the holiday falls on a Saturday this year.

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. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

RELATED | Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the bill creating the new holiday that passed the House 415-14 on Wednesday and the Senate unanimously the day before. Idaho’s entire Congressional delegation voted for the new holiday.

Little in his proclamation said, “Juneteenth marks the celebration of not just a moment in the past but also a renewed shared commitment to uniting as Americans to ensure equality and opportunity are a reality for all Americans, in the present and the future.”

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper also showed her support and issued the following statement:

“We rejoice with people everywhere in the creation of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. The City of Idaho Falls proudly joins President Biden, Governor Brad Little and all of America in celebrating the elimination of slavery in the United States and celebrating the immense contributions made by African Americans to our nation, our state and our community.

We honor this momentous occasion and will move as swiftly as possible to implement the legal processes to codify and recognize June 19th as the newest federal holiday and to officially mark its observance in the City of Idaho Falls.

We urge all our residents to celebrate the wonderful diversity, culture and heritage of African Americans and to join in recognition of this new national observance.”