New Jersey State House in Trenton, New Jersey. Photo by Marion Touvel/Public Domain

Urban News Staff Reports

Black legislators are have put fourth measure to have Black Lives Matter Day and Juneteenth recognized by the state. 
A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, and Assemblymen Jamel Holley and Benjie Wimberly would designate the third Friday in June in each year as Juneteenth Day making it a state and public holiday
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved Africans of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom.  The announcement from General Granger led to celebration and jubilation, which has continued each year in various forms throughout the United States for over 150 years.
 “Juneteenth was a defining moment in American History, claiming the beginning of African American independence in this country,” the Assemblymembers said in a joint statement. “It is time for the commemoration of a pivotal moment in history to become an official state holiday, underscoring its importance to our communities and giving time for reflection on how far we have come and have to go to achieve equality and justice for all.”
 To commemorate the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement and raise awareness for its efforts to combat systemic racism and boost resiliency in the African American community, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight introduced a measure to designate July 13th each year as “Black Lives Matter Day” in New Jersey.
“The momentum we’ve seen around Black Lives Matter in the wake of these tragic, unjust deaths is promising and exhilarating, but we must make sure this is not just a moment in time,” Speight said.
“Black lives matter, everywhere and every day.  It’s time we in New Jersey show we stand in solidarity with this movement by designating a Black Lives Matter day of action each year. This fight doesn’t end when the protests wane or when corrupt police officers are brought to justice. We must always stand up to racism, bigotry and hatred.”

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