PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has declared Friday a holiday for state workers in honor of Juneteenth.
Noem said her decision is in response to legislation signed Thursday by President Joe Biden establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
“‘All men are created equal.’ That is America’s foundational ideal,” Noem said in a statement. “Juneteenth celebrates an important day when we came closer to making that ideal a reality for all Americans, regardless of race."
Juneteenth is meant to remember June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. That was about 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
“I hope state employees take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful South Dakota weather on their day off,” Noem said.