Virginia Gov. Northam, joined by musician Pharrell Williams, shared in a press conference today that he will propose legislation to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Northam shared that Juneteenth will become a time for reflection, conversation, and action in the Commonwealth. A time to reassess the core components of our society to make sure they are fair, equitable, and just for everyone.
“Black Lives Matter in the eyes of the Commonwealth. I can’t say that it always has, but finally we recognize that Black lives absolutely matter,” said Williams during the press conference. “Yes, we can do better,” he added. “So this is what listening looks like. It makes sense that Virginia officially recognizes this holiday in a powerful way because it’s been overlooked for so long….this about proper recognition, observation, and celebration. This is our chance for our government, our corporations, and our citizens to all stand in solidarity. This year Juneteenth will look like it has never looked before. People will come together in solidarity for Black people. It is already happening in the streets and we love you for that.”