Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation declaring June 19th as Juneteenth Celebration Day in Michigan. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slavery was abolished in the United States. Yesterday, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday.
Juneteenth originated on June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, where he read General Order #3, stating that all slaves were free, and that former masters and slaves were absolutely equal in personal and property rights. Acting as the date of emancipation, June 19th also became a long-standing day of celebration, meant to honor African-American resilience and the end of slavery.
“Juneteenth is an essential day of remembrance and a recognition of how far we still have to go to achieve our ideals of equity and racial justice in Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer.
Since day one, both Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II have been committed to making Michigan a more equitable state. The governor appointed the most diverse cabinet in Michigan’s history to ensure that government is more representative of all Michiganders.
As a Black man in America, I know the pain of racism and injustice personally. Far too many Black Americans and other people of color continue to suffer as the result of racism and discrimination that communities of color face every day. Black Michiganders deserve a state that celebrates, listens to, informs, and empowers them. I will work every day to advocate for policies that protect and expand access to justice and opportunity,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II
Last year, Governor Whitmer established the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities by Executive Order 2020-55 to study the causes of racial disparities and recommend actions to address the historical and systemic inequities. To date, the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force has focused on two goals: one to reduce the disparities in the mortality rate of COVID-19, and the second to connect those interventions to more extended term efforts.
Michigan is a national leader in recognizing and addressing disparities that affect the equitable provision of health care. Last year, upon recommendation by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2020-07 which directed LARA to begin promulgating rules that incorporated an implicit bias training requirement. LARA recently announced implicit bias training requirements for the licensure or registration of health care professionals in Michigan to improve equity across Michigan’s health care system.