Pharrell Williams Helps Make Juneteenth a State Holiday in Virginia

'This is what listening looks like'

June 16, 2020

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, joined by musician Pharrell Williams, announced on Tuesday the proposal to make June 19th an official paid holiday in the state that was home at one time to the capital of the Confederate states.

Commonly known as “Juneteenth,” June 19th, 1865 marks the day news finally reached slaves in Galveston, TX that they were free, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“It finally shut the door on enslavement of African American people. And while it did not end racism, black oppression or violence, it is an important symbol,” Northam said during a press conference.

Also called "Emancipation Day" and "Freedom Day," the state of Texas first made it a holiday in 1980.

“This is a very special moment,” Williams said. "This is what listening looks like."

“This year, Juneteenth will look like no Juneteenth before. People of all ages and races, our advocates and allies as well, will together in solidarity for Black people like never before … It’s already happening in the streets,” Williams also said, of protesters. “And we love you for that. I’m grateful for those that are standing with us.”

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