Governor Laura Kelly today proclaimed June 19, 2021, as Juneteenth Day in Kansas.

“Today’s proclamation – and the spirit of Juneteenth – serve as a reminder that, while we have come a long way in our efforts to promote equity and justice, there is work left to do,” Governor Kelly said. “As we celebrate the end of slavery in the United States and learn more about our nation’s history, Juneteenth is also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to making Kansas a better place for all to call home.”

The proclamation states that the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed enslaved peoples living in the Confederacy, was enacted and took effect on January 1, 1863. It was not until over two years later, on June 19, 1865, that the news of this freedom finally reached enslaved people living in Galveston, Texas. This prompted the now freed people to celebrate, coining the day Emancipation Day, Jubilee, or Juneteenth.

Governor Kelly was joined today by Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration and Chief Information Technology Officer; Stacey Knoell, Executive Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission; and Norma Avery, President of the Topeka Family and Friends Juneteenth Celebration Corporation as she signed the proclamation. 

Please find the proclamation here.

The below photos of the proclamation ceremony are available for media use: