National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
                         Celebration of Freedom

                         

Wisconsin

Gov. Doyle: Signs bill to make Juneteenth Day a legal holiday
Also signs into law Senate Bill 80 and Senate Bill 349.

Juneteenth Celebrations
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Wisconsin recognizes Juneteenth as a State Holiday or State Holiday Observance through a Bill, House Resolution, Senate Resolution or Joint Resolution

State Senator Spencer Coggs - 608-266-2500 (passed 2009) 



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Gov. Doyle: Signs bill to make Juneteenth Day a legal holiday
Also signs into law Senate Bill 80 and Senate Bill 349.





State News

At the Northcott Neighborhood House in Milwaukee, Gov. Jim
Doyle signs a bill that makes Juneteenth Day a legal holiday.
Rev. Ronald Myers (right), who leads a national drive for the
holiday, looks on.

(photo by Michael Sears)

WisPolitics.com
By Laura Smith     December 1, 2009


(Milwaukee, WI) - Governor Jim Doyle today signed into law Senate Bill 170, a bill that designates June 19, Juneteenth Day, as a legal holiday. The Governor was joined by Reverend Ronald Myers, National Chairman of Juneteenth Day, and Mac Weddle, the executive director of the Northcott House and local president of Juneteenth Day, for the signing at Northcott Neighborhood Center in Milwaukee.

“Milwaukee has long celebrated Juneteenth Day and I am proud that Wisconsin is moving forward to recognize this important holiday across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “Juneteenth Day marks a historic milestone in our nation’s history and celebrates the freedom that unites all Americans.”

Senate Bill 170 makes Juneteenth Day, June 19, an official legal holiday. Juneteenth Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas first received word that all slaves in the U.S. had been freed by President Lincoln. Milwaukee first celebrated Juneteenth Day in the 1970s, and the annual event continues today.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Coggs and Taylor and Representatives Grigsby and Young for their work on the bill.

At the event, Governor Doyle also signed into law:

Senate Bill 80 requires the state to provide or pay for legal representation and any damages or fees awarded against a volunteer health care provider, regardless or whether an insurance carrier covers those costs.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Coggs and Holperin, and Representatives Kaufert and Benedict for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 349 allows nonprofit organizations to employ a minor 12 years of age or older without a permit to work in and around the home of an elderly person or person with a disability.

Governor Doyle thanked Senator Plale and Representative Sinicki for their work on the bill. 


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Gov. Doyle
Dr. Ronald Myers, Sr. and Governor Jim Doyle
share a moment following the official signing
of the Juneteenth day legislation. (Gov. Doyle
presented a copy of the book " Juneteenth a
Celebration of Freedom
" by Dr. Myers)

(photo by Harry Kemp)

Milwaukee Courier
Juneteenth legislation signed into law

MC Staff     December 3, 2009





Juneteenth Day: State's official day of Jubilee!
Gov. Doyle: Signs bill to make Juneteenth Day a legal holiday


Juneteenth Signing
Joined by (from left to right) State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, State Sen. Spencer Coggs,
Northcott Neighborhood House executive director Mac Weddle, National Chairman of
Juneteenth Day Rev. Ronald Myers, M.D. and many other supporters, Gov. Jim Doyle
signs into law Senate Bill 170, designating Juneteenth Day as a legal holiday in the
state of Wisconsin.

(photo by Harry Kemp)

Juneteenth Signing
Joined by (from left to right) Mac Weddle, executive director of the Northcott House and local
president of Juneteenth Day, stands behind memories from previous Juneteenth celebrations.

(photo by Harry Kemp)

Milwaukee Community Journal
Complide by MCJ Staff     Decemeber 2, 2009


(Milwaukee, WI) - To claps and cheers, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a legal holiday in the state of Wisconsin.

The governor was joined by the Rev. Ronald Myers, Sr., M.D., National Chairman of Juneteenth Day, and Mac Weddle, the executive director of the Northcott Neighborhood House and local president of Juneteenth Day, for the signing at Northcott Neighborhood Center in Milwaukee.

“Milwaukee has long celebrated Juneteenth Day and I am proud that Wisconsin is moving forward to recognize this important holiday across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “Juneteenth Day marks a historic milestone in our nation’s history and celebrates the freedom that unites all Americans.”

Senate Bill 170 designates June 19, Juneteenth Day, as a legal holiday. The designation prohibits elections from being held on June 19, but the new law doesn't affect the number of paid holidays of public employees.

Senators Spencer Coggs and Lena Taylor and Representatives Tamara Grigsby and Leon Young worked on the passage of the bill.

In October, the Wisconsin State Senate passed SB170, sponsored by State Senator Spencer Coggs, with the House of Representatives concurring with the passage of HB 240, recognizing the annual observance of Juneteenth Independence Day as a legal holiday in the state.

Wisconsin becomes the 32nd state to recognize Juneteenth Day as a legal holiday, which was first celebrated in Milwaukee in the 1970s.

“This is another significant development in our campaign to establish Juneteenth as a National Day of Observance in America,” states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF). “As more states like Wisconsin pass Juneteenth legislation, we hope that President Barack Obama will finally establish Juneteenth as a National Holiday Observance by issuing a Presidential Proclamation.”

Adding, “Now that Juneteenth is a state holiday in Wisconsin, I will request that Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) will co-sponsor legislation in the U.S. Senate to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance in 2010, by lead sponsor Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL),” he said.

Myers noted thousands of petitions have been forwarded to the White House urging President Obama to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance and to establish a Presidential National Juneteenth Commission.

A Milwaukee native with fond memories of honoring Juneteenth, Myers began his efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday 15 years ago, as he pressed Congress to enact legislation.

“The official recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day and the end of enslavement by state governments and Congress are very significant steps in bringing healing to America from the legacy of enslavement,” he said.

Juneteenth Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas first received word that all slaves in the U.S. had been freed by President Lincoln.



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Juneteenth legislation signed into law


Gov. Doyle
State Senator Spencer Coggs is congratulated
by Governor Jim Doyle for his work on getting the
Juneteenth Day legislation passed.

(Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Gov. Dolyle
Dr. Ronald Myers, Sr. and Governor Jim Doyle
share a moment following the official signing
of the Juneteenth day legislation. (Gov. Doyle
preseneted a copy of the book " Juneteenth a
Celebration of Freedom
" by Dr. Myers)

(Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Milwaukee Courier Newspaper
By MC Staff     Decemeber 3, 2009


(Milwaukee, WI) - Sen. Spencer Coggs’ bill making Juneteenth Day, or June 19th, a legal holiday in Wisconsin, was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Doyle in Milwaukee before a huge crowd of supporters at the Northcott Neighborhood House. Rep. Tamara Grigsby was the Assembly author of the bill.

“Passage of the Juneteenth Bill has been a long time in coming,” Sen. Coggs said. “Ever since 1987, when my late aunt, former state Rep. Marcia Coggs and I introduced Juneteenth legislation we have worked for many years to bring due recognition to the day when slaves were, in reality, freed.

The history of Juneteenth dates back to June 19th, 1865 when General Gordon Granger of the Union Army in Galveston, Texas delivered General Order No. 3 to the area’s Black population, which freed an estimated 250,000 men, women and children from slavery. The General Order alerted the former slaves nearly three years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Upon hearing General Granger’s announcement, the people declared a holiday. Since then, African-Americans have traditionally adopted the day as a celebration of their independence. Together with the 4th of July, African Americans see the two days as a “cycle of freedom,” which signifies the affirmation: “Until All Are Free, None Are Free.”

Sen. Coggs said, “The signing of this bill on the date of December 1st is particularly significant because on this day 54 years ago, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white rider in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks and the civil disobedience she inspired sparked a national movement that climaxed with passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Wisconsin is the 32nd state to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday. Efforts are also under way to have Congress recognize June 19th as a National Day of Observance.

“Milwaukee has long celebrated Juneteenth Day and I am proud that Wisconsin is moving forward to recognize this important holiday across the state,” Governor Doyle said. “Juneteenth Day marks a historic milestone in our nation’s history and celebrates the freedom that unites all Americans.”

Senate Bill 170 makes Juneteenth Day, June 19, an official legal holiday. Juneteenth Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas first received word that all slaves in the U.S. had been freed by President Lincoln. Milwaukee first celebrated Juneteenth Day in the 1970s, and the annual event continues today.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Coggs and Taylor and Representatives Grigsby and Young for their work on the bill.

National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign chair Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D. who is originally from Milwaukee was present at the governor’s signing the Juneteenth Day legislation at The Northcott Community Center. Myers says that it was a welcomed homecoming. Since leaving Milwaukee, Rev. Myers has tirelessly worked at making Juneteenth Day a national holiday. He is asking Congress to enact legislation to make Juneteenth a national day of observance in America.

“Wisconsin now joins Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington State, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, Kansas and the District of Columbia in recognizing the end of enslavement in America,” states Rev. Myers, Sr., who grew up celebrating Juneteenth in Milwaukee. “Now that Juneteenth is a state holiday in Wisconsin, I will request that Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) will co-sponsor legislation in the U.S. Senate to make Juneteenth a National Day of Observance in 2010, by lead sponsor Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL).”

Milwaukee began its annual observance of the Holiday in the early 1970’s. Mac Weddle, president of Northcott has been the head of the event. Weddle acknowledged one of the many early organizers of Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Day, Margaret Henningsen, who after visiting family Georgia where she observed a Juneteenth Day celebration. Henningsen, who is now co-president of Legacy Bank, shared the experience, and helped to make Milwaukee’s annual celebration a reality.





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