This is the first year Washington will celebrate Juneteenth as an official state holiday

SPOKANE, Wash. — This is the first year Washington is celebrating Juneteenth as an official state holiday.

Last year, the Washington Legislature approved HB 1016, sponsored by Rep. Melanie Morgan, to establish the holiday. It was then signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.

Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, is a celebration of the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was on that day in 1865 that slaves were told they were free.

The holiday is the oldest known public celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. and honors the contribution of Black Americans in the building of the nation.

Not only did the Washington state legislature pass legislation in 2021 that made Juneteenth a legal state holiday, Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which established June 19 as the 12th U.S. public legal holiday.

You can view Washington’s full Juneteenth proclamation here.

READ: What it means for Juneteenth to be an official holiday