Walz proclaims Friday Juneteenth Freedom day in Minnesota, calls on legislature to make it a state holiday

Gov. Tim Walz issued a proclamation making Friday Juneteenth Freedom day in Minnesota. 

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when news finally reached African Americans in Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves living in Confederate states two years earlier.

Walz also called on the state legislature to make Juneteenth a state holiday. 

Juneteenth celebrations around the Twin Cities

"Juneteenth marks our country's second Independence Day, celebrating freedom and justice and emphasizing education, achievement, and tolerance," the proclamation reads. "We must do everything in our power to come together to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in our state so that every person in Minnesota – Black, Indigenous, Brown, and White – can be safe and thrive."

The proclamation and call to make Juneteenth a state holiday comes as the state grapples with the death of George Floyd, as well as the 100th commemoration of the lynching of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie on June 15, 1920, in Duluth.

Following the announcement, singer Pharrell Williams thanked Walz for his work to establish Juneteenth as a holiday.