Whitmer declares Juneteenth a state holiday after signing legislation

Juneteenth is now a state holiday after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation declaring June 19 as a day to highlight Black history, culture, and commemorate the end of slavery.

When it was on its way to being a federal holiday in 2021, Whitmer participated in a collective bargaining agreement with state and union leaders that made it a holiday for all state employees.

"This bill will codify Juneteenth into law as a state holiday and ensure we take time every Juneteenth to recognize both the progress we have made and the work we must continue to do together," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. "As Michigan’s first Black Lieutenant Governor, I am proud to work alongside Michiganders to address issues like the disparities in health care access and discrimination at school or the workplace, and make record investments in infrastructure, education, and environmental justice that particularly impact Black Michiganders."

The legislation was authored by two Detroit lawmakers; state Sen. Sylvia Santana and Rep. Helena Scott.

"Enacting Juneteenth as a state-recognized holiday is a first step in acknowledging history and why it matters," read a statement from Scott. "It also gives the State of Michigan a chance to celebrate Black individuals and their descendants, while coming together to reflect on the importance of protecting our freedoms, equally, for all citizens." 

Juneteenth 2023: More than half of states recognizing it as official public holiday

Two years since it was made into a law by President Joe Biden, 26 states recognized it as a state holiday.