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Gordon open to looking at expanding Juneteenth holiday in Wyoming

Governor Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon walk toward the House chamber before his State of the State address during the opening joint session of the 2020 Budget Session of the Wyoming State Legislature on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Cheyenne. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — After President Joe Biden signed a law on Thursday recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signaled that his is open to considering expanding June 19 as a Wyoming state holiday as well.

“Because of the President’s action, Friday, June 18, 2021 is a holiday for most federal employees per the U.S. Office of Personnel Management,” Gordon’s office said in a press release. “In Wyoming the Legislature has set State Holidays. While tomorrow will not be a state holiday, the Governor will work with lawmakers to consider this option for future years.”

“Wyoming has recognized the Juneteenth holiday since 2003, when the state legislature passed a bill establishing the holiday on the third Saturday of the month.”

Gordon has also signed a proclamation recognizing the significance of Juneteenth which marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3 proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.

While slavery was outlawed when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, enforcement of the proclamation in slave states depended on success of the Union Army during the Civil War and even after the war in places like Texas where Union troops numbers were low as explained in an article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in an article posted on PBS.org originally posted to The Root.

“Freedom is always a cause for celebration and this is a momentous day in our nation’s history,” Gordon said in the release Thursday. “I encourage people to observe this commemoration of the full enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation, which embodies the values of all Americans.”