Mississippi’s Rev. Dr. Ronald Myers Glad for State Acknowledgement of Juneteenth
Sen. Willie Simmons Champions Juneteenth Legislation in Mississippi
Rep. Byron Clark Sen. Willie Simmons Rep. Rufus Straughter Dr. Ronald Myers
(Jackson, MS) – National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign Chairman and Belzoni, Mississippi resident, Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., was glad to hear the news about the passage of S.C.R. 605 by the Mississippi Legislature to recognize the “19th of June” as Juneteenth Freedom Day. The Magnolia State is now the 36th state to celebrate the end of enslavement in America.
“Mississippi joins Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington State, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and the District of Columbia in recognizing the end of enslavement in America,” states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteeenth Observance Foundation (NJOF).
Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves in the last geographic area in America where slavery existed learned of their freedom. This took place on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order #3, announcing that “all slaves are free” by Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, and issued on January 1, 1863. It took over two and a half years for the news to travel to southwest Texas.
Throughout recent years, Juneteenth has been celebrated in cities and towns across Mississippi, including Jackson, Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Belzoni, Cleveland, Meridian, Vicksburg, Tchula, Columbus, Gulfport, Natchez, Biloxi, Brandon, Louisville, McComb, Holly Springs, D’Iberville, Waynesboro, Tupelo and other communities.
“We especially appreciate Senator Willie Simmons for sponsoring the legislation that has made all of this possible,” states Dr. Myers. “We also want to thank Rep. Rufus Straughter and Rep. Byron Clark for their persistent efforts in supporting Juneteenth at the state capitol.”
Now that Juneteenth is recognized in Mississippi, Juneteenth supporters hope Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) will co-sponsor legislation in the U.S. Senate to make Juneteenth Independence Day a National Day of Observance through legislation that will be introduced by Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) in April of 2010.
In a recent letter to Rev. Myers, concerning S.R. 19, introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2009, Sen Thad Cochran states, “I appreciate the information regarding the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Senator Burris’ resolution seeking recognition and support of a National Juneteenth Observance day unanimously passed in the Senate.” Rev. Myers is hopeful that congress will pass similiar legislation this year to place Juneteenth on all calendars.
“We are not asking for a paid federal holiday, which will be a burden on tax-payers, but a National Day of Observance like Flag Day or Patriot Day,” states Dr. Myers. “As more states like Mississippi pass Juneteenth legislation, with only fourteen states remaining, we hope that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress will finally establish a day for the observance and celebration of the end of slavery in America.”
Thousands of petitions have been forwarded to the White House urging President Obama to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance and to establish a Presidential National Juneteenth Commission to provide advice on how the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day can bring all Americans together with the goal of promoting greater understanding and racial healing. A similar petition drive was successful in getting the USPS to
issue a Juneteenth “Flags of Freedom” postage stamp in 2012.
“The official recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day and the end of enslavement by state governments and the U.S. congress are very significant steps in bringing healing to America from the legacy of enslavement,” states Rev. Dr. Myers, also Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC), the National Day Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement and the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance.
For information on the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, the National Day of Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, and Juneteenth Celebrations in Mississippi, contact Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D. at 662-247-3364 or e-mail: JuneteenthDOC@yahoo.com or web sites: http://www.NationalJuneteenth.com, http://www.Juneteenth.us, http://www.19thofJune.com and http://www.njclc.com.