Gov. Little, city officials respond to Juneteenth as a holiday

Juneteenth Lincoln Museum
Posted at 5:01 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 20:05:49-04

IDAHO — Gov. Brad Little issued a proclamation recognizing June 19, known as “Juneteenth”, as a new legal public holiday following the passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

President Joe Biden signed the act into law on June 17.

Related: Juneteenth becomes federal holiday after bill receives Biden’s signature

The State of Idaho executive branch entities will observe the holiday on June 18. Read the full proclamation from Gov. Little below:


WHEREAS, Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and it is also known as Emancipation Day; and

WHEREAS, on June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation came more than two years earlier on January 1, 1863, many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement, so Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom; and

WHEREAS, all Idahoans honor the countless contributions made by African Americans to our state and our nation; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth marks the celebration of not just a moment in the past but also a renewed shared commitment to uniting as Americans to ensure equality and opportunity are a reality for all Americans, in the present and the future; and

WHEREAS, the United States Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act recognizing June 19 as a legal public holiday, which President of the United States Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed into law on June 17, 2021; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Idaho Code §§ 73-108 and 67-5302, Saturday, June 19, 2021 is a new holiday recognized and observed by the State of Idaho; and

WHEREAS, holidays occurring on a Saturday are observed on the preceding Friday.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BRAD LITTLE, Governor of the State of Idaho, and pursuant to Idaho Code, do hereby recognize Juneteenth as a holiday and that state offices will be closed on Friday, June 18, 2021. However, the Office of the Governor will remain open and available to assist agencies and members of the public.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Idaho at the Capitol in Boise on this 17th day of June in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one.



City of Boise Mayor Lauren McLean issued a statement on Juneteenth being recognized as a US Federal Holiday

This afternoon, President Biden signed a bill to establish Juneteenth (June 19) as a federal holiday, memorializing the end of slavery in the United States. This is a truly a momentous day in our country’s history.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told enslaved Black people of their emancipation. By formally recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, we are able to reflect on our nation’s past and continue the work toward equality and racial justice.

The City of Boise will recognize the new holiday to reflect on our history and move our city forward. With short notice this year, we will not close city facilities so that we can continue to serve our community. Moving forward, beginning in 2022, we will recognize Juneteenth as we do other federal holidays by closing city facilities so employees can observe the holiday.
Mayor McLean

City of Meridian Mayor Robert Simison also issued a statement. Both city's facilities will remain open this Friday due to short notice.

It is important that we recognize Juneteenth and its significance to the African-American community and on the lives of all Americans. As a City, we look forward to honoring and incorporation this holiday into the City’s future operations.
Mayor Simison

Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling announced City of Nampa will work with the city council to formalize the holiday in its employee handbook for 2022. Due to the "quick turn around", the city will not be able to implement its formal observance this year, according to the city.

“I encourage everyone to reflect on the significance of our country’s journey to live up to our founding ideals, that all humans are created in the image of God and possess dignity and freedom as a natural, God-given right,” Kling said in a statement.

Boise State University announced it will recognize the holiday Friday, June 18. All classes are canceled.

Juneteenth is observed on June 19 every year. The holiday dates back to June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas. The order let the slaves of Texas know they were free, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation.

This is the first time in nearly 40 years that the United States has recognized a new federal holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was the last added in 1983.