May 27, 2024

Kansas governor announces Juneteenth will be observed as a state holiday

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks during a news conference at the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment Day Center about her proposals for cutting taxes, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Topeka, Kansas. The Democratic governor is preparing to give the annual State of the State address to a skeptical, Republican-controlled Legislature that has different ideas about how to cut taxes. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas will designate Juneteenth as a state holiday, joining 28 other states and the District of Columbia, Gov. Laura Kelly said Tuesday.
Kelly, a Democrat, said in a news release that establishing the state holiday “provides Kansans an opportunity to celebrate our state’s diversity and honor the ongoing struggles for racial equality.”
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free. For generations, Black Americans have recognized the end of one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history with joy, in the form of parades, street festivals, musical performances or cookouts.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19th, as a federal holiday.