LOCAL NEWS

Utah celebrates Juneteenth for the first time as an official state holiday

Jun 14, 2022, 1:30 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — State leaders raised the Juneteenth Flag above City Hall in Salt Lake City Tuesday.

The flag-raising comes as Utah celebrates Juneteenth as a state holiday for the first time.

Many Utahns will get a day off from work for the holiday.

June 19 traditionally celebrates emancipation. Juneteenth was first celebrated in Galveston, Texas in 1865. That’s the day slaves in Texas learned they were free. They received word more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021.

Following the continued efforts of supporters, as well as Representative Sandra Hollins’ sponsorship of the bill to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, leaders from the black community, city council, and state, came together on Tuesday in Salt Lake City to pay respect and celebrate the communities that have carried a torch of justice for generations. 

“It has made a great difference because now it has made it the type of event that the entire state is made aware of, and so we’ve received a lot of contact,” said Robert Burch, Executive Director of Semi Hadiffi African American Heritage and Culture Foundation.

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Utah celebrates Juneteenth for the first time as an official state holiday