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Lamont establishes Juneteenth as a state holiday in new legislation

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday that he has signed new legislation that establishes June 19, known as Juneteenth Independence Day, as a legal state holiday. 

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.

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“Juneteenth marks an important day in our nation that for far too long has gone underrecognized and has not been truly appreciated to the extent that it should be as a major part of United States history,” said Gov. Lamont in a statement. “While some elected officials in other states are working to block efforts to teach the true history of our nation, it fills me with pride that here in Connecticut we are embracing that history and working to educate everyone about how our nation was built and the significance of what this day means. I firmly believe that ignoring the reality of slavery and the impact that it has had on the United States for many, many decades after it was outlawed is an injustice and does not benefit anyone, of any race or ethnicity. Honoring and celebrating Juneteenth is a reaffirmation that a democratic society is not great because it is the perfect way to govern people, but because people have the ability to fix the imperfections of government and create a stronger, fairer, and more just future.”

This new legislation will go into place on October 1, 2022, meaning that the first time Juneteenth is legally recognized as a state holiday in Connecticut will be June 19, 2023.

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By law on state holidays, banks and credit unions will be closed.  The decision to close public schools on Juneteenth Independence Day will be made by each local school district. Each local and regional board of education that decides to stay open on a state holiday is required to have an educational program about the holiday.

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Daniel Dashefsky is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ddashefsky@fox61.com.

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