Oregon set to observe Juneteenth as an official state holiday

By: Alyssa Wilson

Beginning in 2022, the state of Oregon will observe Juneteenth as an official state holiday on June 19. The state Senate voted unanimously to pass House Bill 2168 on Tuesday, KVAL reported.   

RELATED: Juneteenth: A day of joy and pain – and now national action  

The bill will go back to the House for a final review before it can be signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Oregon Democrats said in a statement: “This holiday will serve to honor the freedom of enslaved people in the United States, acknowledge Oregon’s racist roots, and celebrate the contributions of Black Americans in the face of inequity and systemic oppression.”  

Democratic State Senator Lew Frederick said the efforts to get Juneteenth observed as a holiday in the state are thanks largely in part to Clara Peoples and her family. “Miss Clara Peoples is foundational to Oregon. Her family is the reason we have unofficially observed this holiday and the Peoples have remained central in framing the expectation of a more equitable tomorrow,” he said.  

RELATED: Hawaii close to becoming latest state to honor Juneteenth 

Although it is not observed as a national holiday, most states recognize June 19 as a state holiday. Hawaii and North Dakota are finalizing legislation to make it a state holiday. This leaves South Dakota as the only state w does not recognize it as a state holiday or day of observance.  

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