Juneteenth flag flies above Wisconsin State Capitol in observance of holiday

MADISON, Wis. — The Juneteenth flag is now flying above the Wisconsin State Capitol for the third year in a row, as Gov. Tony Evers acknowledges there is still more work to do when it comes to eliminating disparities for Black Wisconsinites.

“As we celebrate the progress we have made, albeit sometimes at a glacial pace, we recognize and acknowledge the work we have left to do,” Gov. Evers said during the flag-raising ceremony Friday afternoon.

Evers was joined by members of the Legislative Black Caucus and other lawmakers and community members for the ceremony. The Juneteenth flag was raised as “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung. It is temporarily taking the place of the Progress Pride flag, flying below the United States and Wisconsin flags, for the weekend.

It will fly until sunset on Sunday, June 19, and will not disrupt any of the other flags flying over the Capitol.

“I want to acknowledge that I know a flag is not a policy solution and it’s not an investment, but it is a message,” Gov. Evers said during the flag-raising ceremony Friday. “A message to Black Wisconsinites across our state that we celebrate you, and that as a state we are committed to building a future that we dare to dream of for our kids and our grandkids and generations to come.”

Gov. Evers signed the executive order Friday authorizing the flag to be flown.

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Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year, after President Joe Biden signed it into law. Wisconsin has formally recognized Juneteenth since 2009, but Gov. Evers noted it took 22 years from the time the legislation was first introduced for it to pass the state legislature.

Juneteenth’s roots date back to June 19, 1865 — more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation — when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to declare the Civil War and slavery were over.

“I think it’s important that we realize on this day that Black history is not just Black history, it’s American history,” State Rep. Dora Drake said Friday. “My simple ask is to continue to push and to continue to speak about what is the truth in our country — all of it, the good bad and ugly — and today is one of the amazing parts of the history of our country, and we should celebrate it all.”