FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (4/4/01)
Contact: Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
web sites: www.19thofJune.com www.JuneteenthShoppingMall.com
NJOF Alaska State Coordinator
"Alaska Legislature Passes Historic Juneteenth State Holiday Bill"
(Anchorage, AL) - The Alaska State Legislature passed a historic Juneteenth State Holiday Bill that now awaits Governor Tony Knowles signature to become state law. "Once the bill is signed by the governor, Alaska will join Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware and Idaho in recognizing the end of slavery in America," states Dino Allen, Director of the Anchorage Juneteenth Celebration and the Alaska State Coordinator for the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF). "We especially appreciate the efforts of State Representative Lesil McGuire in making all of this possible."
Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", was recognized as America's 2nd Independence Day by the Congress of the United States through the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 56 and House Joint Resolution 11 in 1997. Thousands are anticipated to return to the nation's capitol for a WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2001 National Holiday Observance, June 15-19, 2001, at the Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and US Capitol Grounds to urge President Bush to establish Juneteenth as a National Holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the day when the last group of slaves in America learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. It was then that Union General Gordon Granger announced that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It took over two and a half years for the news to travel to southwest Texas.
"This is another significant development in our campaign to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday in America," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the NJOF. "As more states like Alaska pass Juneteenth holiday bills, we anticipate that President George Bush will finally establish Juneteenth as a national holiday observance by issuing a Presidential Proclamation on the "19th of June" during our WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2001 National Holiday Observance."
Many more states including California, Oregon, South Dakota, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Montana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey are contemplating legislation to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday. "Juneteenth is a freedom celebration significant for all Americans and the forerunner to the 13th Amendment," states John Thompson, Founder & CEO of Juneteenth America, Inc., host of the 4th National Juneteenth Convention and Expo, August 17-19, 2001, in Ontario, California. "Juneteenth brings all Americans together to celebrate the end of slavery and freedom."
Thousands of petitions have been forwarded to the White House urging President Bush to make Juneteenth a National Holiday and to establish a National Juneteenth Commission. "The official recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day and the end of slavery by state governments and the congress are very significant steps in bringing healing in America from the devastation of slavery," states Rev., Dr. Myers, also Chairman of the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), sponsors of the 2nd Annual National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Slavery, on the "19th of June", 2001, in Washington, DC.
"During our historic WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH 2000 National Holiday Observance, House Joint Resolution 356, a formal apology for slavery, was introduced by Congressman Tony Hall (D-Ohio)." states Dr. Myers. "We are gathering at the nation's capitol again to support Congressman Hall and urge President Bush to establish a National Juneteenth Commission to advise him and future Presidents on how the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day can bring all Americans together with the goal of promoting greater understanding and racial healing."
For information on the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign contact Dr. Myers at 662-247-1471, e-mail: MyersFound@aol.com or the following web sites: www.19thofJune.com or www.JuneteenthShoppingMall.com