RICHMOND, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Juneteenth is now a permanent state holiday in Virginia.
Governor Ralph Northam announced in a press conference Tuesday that he has officially signed the order he previously proposed that marks the day as a paid holiday for state employees.
With Virginia native Pharrell standing alongside him, Northam announced the proposal in June.
"It’s time we elevate this – not just by and for some Virginians – but one acknowledged and celebrated by all of us, because that’s how important this event is," he said. "It finally shut the door on the enslavement of African-American people. And while it did not end racism, black oppression or violence – it is an important symbol. By commemorating it, we push people to think about the significance of Juneteenth."
The order begins with giving state employees a paid holiday on June 19.
June 19 commemorates the day when residents in Galveston, Texas became the last Americans to learn that the slaves had been freed.