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Proclaim June 19, 2021 to be Juneteenth

Placed on File

Whereas,  the first enslaved people brought over from Africa to the continental United States arrived in what is now Winyah Bay, South Carolina in 1526; and

Whereas, Slavery became an economic driver in the United States. By 1860, 1 in 8 Americans were enslaved African Americans, forcibly building this country’s economy and infrastructure while sacrificing their bodies, families, culture, and lives; and

Whereas, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, setting in motion the end of slavery in the United States; and

Whereas, this news reached Texas on June 19, 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Bay with Union troops, announcing: “the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free”; and

Whereas, the celebration of the end of slavery, which became known as Juneteenth, being the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States; and

Whereas, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and achievement, celebrating the fundamental truth that all people are created equal, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures; and

Whereas, across our nation, states, counties, and cities, the celebration of Juneteenth reminds each of us of the precious promises of freedom, equality, and opportunity, which are the core of the American Dream; and

Whereas, in 1997, the United States Congress passed Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56, officially recognizing Juneteenth Independence Day. However, Juneteenth is not recognized as a federal holiday. We call on the federal government to rectify this and enact legislation that would officially recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday; and

Whereas, in 2021, the Oregon Legislative Assembly recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday; and

Whereas, this year, Juneteenth carries even more resonance as people across Oregon, the United States and around the world are still facing systemic racism, proclaiming that Black Lives Matter; and in order for all lives to matter, Black Lives have to matter too; and

Whereas, recognizing the social, economic, and racial disparities still in place more than 150 years after the end of slavery, we call on the federal government to pass reparations legislation.

Now, therefore,I, Ted Wheeler, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim June 19, 2021 to be 


in Portland and encourage all residents to observe this day.

Agenda Items

463 Regular Agenda in June 16, 2021 Council Agenda

Placed on File

Introduced by

Prepared by

Ocean Eale

Date Prepared

Requested Agenda Type