Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed SB 350 into law on Friday. The bill establishes Juneteenth Independence Day as an official, legal state holiday.

“I had the honor today of holding a bill signing ceremony in New London for legislation establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday in CT,” Governor Lamond wrote on Twitter. “This is an important part of honoring the continued push for racial equity and justice, and educating ourselves on our nation’s history.”

The bill was introduced by the Government Administration and Elections Committee back in March.

“Juneteenth is the day many of our citizens fully realized their true freedom,” Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz wrote in a Twitter post on Friday. “Today we’re here on the Amistad to recognize the trauma of our African American community and correct the wrongs of our past. And as Juneteenth becomes an official state holiday today, we are one step closer to changing that course of history.”

Every year, June 19th marks the annual anniversary of the last African American slaves being freed in Galveston, Texas by federal troops in 1865 – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in January 1863.

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which created a federal holiday to commemorate the events that took place in Texas on June 19th, 1865, now otherwise known as Juneteenth.

“The truth is, it’s not simply not enough just to commemorate Juneteenth,” President Biden said before signing the bill into law. “After all, the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didn’t mark the end of America’s work to deliver on the promise of equality; it only marked the beginning. To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth, we have to continue toward that promise because we’ve not gotten there yet.”

Juneteenth is the first federal holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983, signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan.

– – –

Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Connecticut Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Ned Lamont Signs Bill Establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday” by Governor Ned Lamont.