FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (5/26/09)
Contact: Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
web sites: www.19thofJune.com
Bishop Dave Thomas, Chairman
National Juneteenth Armed Services Commission
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
web site: www.JuneteenthAlaskaALCAN.com
Gov. Sarah Palin presented a copy of the book, "Juneteenth a Celebration of Freedom" by
Rev. Ronald Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
at the 2nd Annual Alaska Juneteenth Conference in Anchorage, Alaska at a Juneteenth book
dedication at the the Z. J. Loussac Public Library.
(photo by Bishop Dave Thomas)
Gov. Palin Speaks Concerning the Significance of Juneteenth in Alaska
Juneteenth Leaders Encouraged By Gov. Palin's Acknowledgement of African American Contributions to Alcan Highway
Pastor Jack Gaines Delivers Message of Biblical Reconciliation at Alaska Juneteenth Conference ,
(Anchorage, Alaska) - The 2nd Annual Alaska Juneteenth Conference concluded this week with Gov. Sarah Palin speaking passionately about the contributions of African Americans to Alaska. The mention of her sincere appreciation for the African American army engineers who built the Alcan highway during World War II, leading to the defeat of the invading Japanese army, was very well received by local and national Juneteenth leaders in attendence. Acting Anchorage Mayor, Matt Claman, also spoke about the significance of Juneteenth in Alaska during the presentation of the book, "Juneteenth, A Celebration of Freedom", by Dr. Charles Taylor to the J. Loussac Public Library. The conference was organized by Gwen Alexander of the African American Historical Society of Alaska (AAHSA).
"Gov. Palinís gracious words concerning the celebration of Juneteenth and the significant contribution of African Americans to Alaska were very encouraging," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign. "We look forward to her support for the establishment of an Alaska Juneteenth Commission and to place a copy of the Juneteenth book in all the public libraries and public school libraries in Alaska."
Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest. This was the last major vestige of slavery in the United States following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African-American holiday observance.
Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Delaware, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Vermont. In 2003, the District of Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday observance. Many more states, including Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin and Maryland have recognized Juneteenth through state legislative resolutions, Gubernatorial Proclamations and current state holiday observance legislation.
In 2001, legislation was passed to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday observance by the Alaska state legislature and signed into law by former Governor Tony Knowles. The legislation, made possible through the efforts of NJOF board member and former Director of the Anchorage Juneteenth Celebration, Dino Allen, required the governor to issue an annual Juneteenth Proclamation. In 2007, during her first year in office, Governor Palin inadvertently did not issue a proclamation which lead to public criticism and a lawsuit. Dr. Myers was hopeful that his trip to Alaska and meeting with Gov. Palin would lead to a resolution of the situation and bring all Alaskans together to join in the celebration of Juneteenth.
"We appreciate Gov. Palinís participation in our Alaska Juneteenth Conference," states Bishop Dave Thomas, Chairman of the NJOF Armed Services Commission and Director of the Juneteenth Alaska Alcan Highway Celebration. ďIt has been an important step toward improving relationships with Juneteenth leaders in Alaska. Let's all work together to celebrate Juneteenth and the great acheivement of the building of the Alcan highway by African American Army engineers during World War II."
During the Alaska Juneteenth Reconciliation and Healing Worship Service at Jesus Holy Temple, where Bishop Thomas serves as pastor, guest minister Pastor Jack Gaines delivered a message of hope and forgiveness. Pastor Gaines will be the keynote speaker at the National Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast at the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance on the "19th of June", Junetenth Independence Day, at the nation's capitol. The "3rd Friday in June" has been set aside for the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement which includes the National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "Maafa" Memorial Service.
"We as African Americans have the opportunity to extend forgiveness for what happened to us during slavery and turn our failure as a nation into opportunity for growth," states Pastor Jack Gaines, Director of Reconciliation Ministry for the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) and author of the recently released book on Biblical Reconciliation "My Brothers Keeper Not My Brothers Killer". "This places us in the unique position to be the model of reconciliation to the world."
For information on the National Juneteenth Armed Services Commission and the Junetenth Alaska Alcan Highway Celebration contact Bishop Dave Thomas at 907-575-8506; e-mail: BishopThomas9@yahoo.com or web site: www.JuneteenthAlaskaALCAN.com.
For information on the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, contact Dr. Myers at 662-247-3364 or 662-247-1471; e-mail: JunetenthDOC@yahoo.com or web sites www.Juneteenth.us or www.19thofJune.com.
For information on the National Juneteenth Prayer Breaskfast, the National Day of Reconciliatiion and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement, the National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "Maafa" Memorial Service or the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) call Dr. Myers at 662-247-3364 or 662-247-1471; e-mail: JuneteenthDOC@yahoo.com or web site: www.njclc.com.