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June 18, 2021

Mayor Proclaims Saturday as Juneteenth Day in Rapid City

MAYOR PROCLAIMS SATURDAY

AS JUNETEENTH DAY IN RAPID CITY

Mayor's proclamation honors African Americans;

Allender: 'None Are Free, Until All Are Free'

should hold special meaning to all Americans

RAPID CITY, SD—For a second consecutive year, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is issuing a proclamation recognizing and declaring Juneteenth Day in Rapid City. Juneteenth will be recognized nationally on Saturday and Mayor Allender will share the proclamation at the beginning of Monday night’s City Council meeting.

            With the declaration, the mayor is calling upon citizens to pay special observance to Juneteenth.  Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of African Americans from slavery in the United States and observes anniversaries of significant historical events and celebrations of freedom including:

            *June 19, 1862: President Lincoln signs legislation prohibiting slavery in federal territories;

            *January 1, 1863: President Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation, "slaves within any State, or designated part of a State...in rebellion, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

            *June 19, 1865: More than two months after Robert E. Lee's surrender, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrive at Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War had ended and issuing General Order #3 that the enslaved were now free.  

            *June 19, 1964, the United States Senate ends an 83-day filibuster on the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, leading to Senate passage, and President Lyndon Johnson's signature of the landmark legislation on July 2, 1964.

            President Joe Biden is expected to sign a bill today making Juneteenth, or June 19, a federal holiday after passage of the bill earlier this week in both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. South Dakota is the only state without legislation passed to officially recognize Juneteenth in some form.

            Mayor Allender said Juneteenth should hold special meaning for all Americans.

            "Americans of all colors, creeds, cultures, religions and countries-of-origin share in a common love of and respect for ‘freedom’, as well as a mutual determination to protect the right to freedom through democratic institutions established by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution,” Mayor Allender states in the proclamation.  “These ‘tenets of freedom’ were appropriated but not applied fairly to all Americans as a whole, however, the celebration of Juneteenth continued regardless.”

            In the proclamation, Mayor Allender calls upon all citizens of Rapid City to pay special observance to Juneteenth “in honor of the ongoing and historic contributions our African American brothers and sisters have made in growing and strengthening our country and community.

            "Juneteenth exemplifies the spirit of freedom for all, especially for those who, while making inventive, scientific, musical and medicinal contributions to America and the world; while serving in every one of America's wars and conflicts, from the revolutionary war forward; and while exemplifying courage, patriotism and exhibiting patience with grace, did so in the face of and in spite of draconian laws and severe inequality.”

            Mayor Allender emphasizes Juneteenth National Freedom Day, along with the Fourth of July Independence Day, completes the 'cycle of freedom' for America's Independence Day observances. 

"None Are Free, Until All Are Free" is an often-repeated statement highlighting the significance of the end of the slavery era in the United States and should hold special meaning to all Americans, said Allender.

            Monday’s City Council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Below is Mayor Allender's proclamation:

 

Executive Proclamation

Rapid City, South Dakota

Office of the Mayor

WHEREAS, Juneteenth National Freedom Day commemorates the first day of the celebration of freedom in America for all Americans, and the last known celebration for the ending of slavery. It continues to be the most recognized African American holiday observance in the United States; and

WHEREAS, June 19, 1866, Juneteenth, became the first of many anniversaries to be celebrated across America and around the world in commemoration of significant historical events on June 19, 1862, 1863, and 1865 in which Congress abolished slavery in the Federal territories, meetings occurred to enforce President Lincoln’s Emancipation order in Pennsylvania, and the day freedom was proclaimed in the south by issuance of General Order #3 in Galveston, Texas; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth exemplifies the spirit of freedom for all, especially for those who, while making inventive, scientific, musical and medicinal contributions to America and the world; while serving in every one of America’s wars and conflicts, from the revolutionary war forward; and while exemplifying courage, patriotism and exhibiting patience with grace, did so in the face of and in spite of draconian laws and severe inequality; and

WHEREAS, nearly 179,000 black men (10% of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army, and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the American Civil War. Black women, who could not formally join the Army, also served as nurses, spies, and scouts to aid in the pursuit of their freedom; and

WHEREAS, Americans of all colors, creeds, cultures, religions and countries-of-origin share in a common love of and respect for "freedom," as well as a mutual determination to protect the right to freedom through democratic institutions established by the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. These "tenets-of-freedom" were appropriated but not applied fairly to all Americans as a whole, however, the celebration of Juneteenth continued regardless; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth National Freedom Day, along with the 4th of July Independence Day, completes the "cycle of freedom" for America's Independence Day observances. "None Are Free, Until All Are Free" is an oft repeated maxim that highlights the significance of the end of the era of slavery in the United States.

NOW, therefore, I, Steve Allender, Mayor of Rapid City, South Dakota, do hereby proclaim the day of June 19th as 

Juneteenth Day

In Rapid City, South Dakota and call upon all citizens of Rapid City to pay special observance to this day in honor of the ongoing and historic contributions our African American brothers and sisters have made in growing and strengthening our country and community.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the seal of the City of Rapid City this 19th day of June, 2021.

                                                                         ____________________________________

Steve Allender, Mayor

                                                                                    City of Rapid City, South Dakota