Governor Walz makes Juneteenth state holiday, signs CROWN act into law

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 3:00 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, MN. (Northern News Now) - Friday, Governor Tim Walz signed two bills into state law.

Walz signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday.

Senate File 13 commemorates June 19 as the official end of slavery in the U.S.

Juneteenth recognizes the historical pronouncement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1965, when the Emancipation Proclamation was said to have been first publicly read in Texas by Union soldiers.

The announcement came over two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and two months after General Lee’s surrender in April 1865.

“Juneteenth is an important opportunity for communities across the state and nation to celebrate freedom, recognize the history and contributions of Black Americans, and recommit to building a more just and equitable society for everyone.” said Governor Walz. “Creating Juneteenth as a state holiday is a long overdue celebration of independence.”

“Juneteenth is a powerful celebration that encourages us to reflect on our shared history and celebrate the innumerable contributions of Black Americans in our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “This holiday reminds us that freedom is not fully realized until all of us are truly free. It’s an opportunity to teach the truth of our shared history and recommit to doing everything in our power to deconstruct generations of systemic racism so that every Black Minnesotan can be afforded the freedom and justice that is long overdue. I have tremendous gratitude to all those who made the Juneteenth holiday a reality in our state.”

Governor Walz also ceremonially signed the CROWN Act into law alongside bill authors, legislative leaders, and advocates.

This bill explicitly prohibits racial discrimination based on natural hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.

“Discrimination has no place in Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “By signing the CROWN Act, we are sending a message that Black Minnesotans deserve to live and work free from discrimination. Today we are taking an important step in creating a more equitable Minnesota.”

“The CROWN Act will ensure today’s generation and future generations of Black Minnesotans don’t experience the discrimination that has existed for far too long in our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Black people in Minnesota, and across the country, deserve to show up as their full, beautiful selves, without the fear of hair discrimination.”

The CROWN Act, HF 37 Ch. 3, adds clear language to the definition of race in the Minnesota Human Rights Act that includes natural hair textures and hair styles preventing discrimination on the basis of hair.