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Juneteenth flag to fly over Wisconsin State Capitol Building on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth

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The Juneteenth flag will be raised over the Wisconsin State Capitol beginning at sunrise on Friday, June 19, in celebration of Juneteenth, Gov. Tony Evers announced today.

“As a state that sees some of the most disparate outcomes for Black Wisconsinites, it is as important as ever that we recognize and reflect on our history, celebrate Black resiliency, and move forward in solidarity and strength toward a more racially equitable and just society,” said Gov. Evers in a statement.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, a day when African-American slaves in Texas were told by Union forces that they were free. They were the final group of slaves to realize their freedom. Deep in the Confederacy, they were unaware of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation almost two years earlier. A celebration of the day has been held annually in Texas ever since, which eventually spread to other states.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in Wisconsin since 1971 in Milwaukee and since 1990 in Madison. It was declared a Wisconsin State Holiday on December 1, 2009.

“This year, Juneteenth has particular significance as we find ourselves in the midst of a movement for racial justice and an end to systemic racism,” said Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in a statement. “We have won significant freedoms since 1619, but our work will not be over until all Black lives matter by way of equity and the opportunity to thrive.”