HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging Pennsylvanians to reflect on the importance of Friday's Juneteenth state holiday and the continued need for a fair and just society.
Juneteenth is a state holiday in Pennsylvania, meaning all state employees under his jurisdiction will observe a special holiday closure, Wolf said.
Wolf signed legislation designating June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Pennsylvania. The day marks June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers reached Galveston Texas -- the furthest point south -- with news of the end of the Civil War. Until that point, slaves were previously unaware they had been freed more than two years earlier when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, or that the Confederate Army under General Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia two months earlier.
"This Juneteenth, people across Pennsylvania and the world will celebrate this important day of independence,” Wolf said in a press release. “This is a moment to honor African American history and reflect on how each of us can promote equality, liberty and justice for all people.
"In recent weeks, people around the nation have joined together to demand an end to systemic racism and oppression of African Americans. Freedom for all is not fully realized until every person is truly free. This Juneteenth we have an opportunity to unite against injustice and create lasting change that will make Pennsylvania and our nation a better place for everyone."