POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Salt Lake County honors Juneteenth, activists call for it to be a national holiday

Jun 19, 2020, 7:06 PM

Salt Lake County honors Juneteenth, activists call for it to be a national holiday...

(The Juneteenth flag, before it was raised outside the Salt Lake County complex. Credit: Paul Nelson)

(The Juneteenth flag, before it was raised outside the Salt Lake County complex. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake County is honoring the day known as Juneteenth, which is recognized as the day when the last of the slaves were freed in Texas in 1865.  Hundreds attended the celebration, saying it’s time to end discrimination.

The song “Lift Every Voice And Sing” was sung as the Juneteenth flag was raised next to the American flag at the Salt Lake County complex on State Street near 2100 South.  Speakers included Utah’s 4th Congressional District Representative Ben McAdams and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.  McAdams says Juneteenth was just a first step in an extremely long journey.

“No longer can we let the atrocities against Black Americans go unanswered,” he says.

Wilson says people need to begin the work of bridging the racial divide.

She says, “I say ‘begin’ because I don’t think we’ve done it.  I think we have given some lip service to the challenge and it’s really time that we get over our fear.”

Event organizers say the day isn’t just about celebrating the history of emancipation or the artwork and culture of African Americans, but about education, also.  Betty Sawyer is the Director of the Utah Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival and Holiday Committee.  She grew up in Baltimore, and even she wasn’t familiar with Juneteenth before she moved to Utah.

(Betty Sawyer, speaking before the crowd honoring Juneteenth. Credit: Paul Nelson)

Sawyer is pushing for Juneteenth to become a national holiday.  She applauded the Utah Jazz for making it a company holiday, but she says the state should do more to mark the occasion.

“We’re going to go back and have a conversation with our governor and our legislators about making it a paid holiday, and not just a ‘day of observance,’” Sawyer says.

Along with Sawyer’s push for education, other people urged all African Americans to study the history of one of their ancestors.  Utah Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society President Robert Burch says it’s up to the living to tell the stories of the dead.

“Otherwise, we will always only have one version of history in this country,” Burch says.

 

 

Related articles:

Protestors celebrate Juneteenth by marching and demanding police reform

The Juneteenth flag is full of symbols. Here’s what they mean

Protesters kneel, lay down to call out police brutality

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

Sensitive material bill passes...

Tim Vandenack, KSL.com

Utah Senate, House reach compromise on ‘sensitive materials’ bill

The Senate gave the reworked "sensitive materials" measure the green light in a 19-8 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

2 hours ago

the front of a homeless shelter, budget plan utah...

Eric Cabrera

Salt Lake business leaders show support for governor’s budget plan to help homeless people in Utah

Leaders who approve of the budget plan said they had seen a huge difference in downtown Salt Lake over the past six months.

13 hours ago

nikki haley shown, she will be in utah next week...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Nikki Haley to visit Utah next week ahead of Super Tuesday presidential caucus votes

Nikki Haley plans to hold a rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts on Utah Valley University's campus in Orem on the morning of Feb. 28.

16 hours ago

solar panel shown, solar power in utah is the major focus of a proposed law...

Heather Peterson

Bill focusing on solar power customers in Utah gets favorable recommendation in Senate committee

Right now, Rocky Mountain Power only credits solar power customers in Utah about 5 cents for the power they send back to the grid.

16 hours ago

a woman on her phone...

Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Utah Legislature approves candidate signature gathering change

A shift is coming for candidates who have to gather signatures to get on the ballot, an app allowing them to verify a voter's eligibility in real-time.

17 hours ago

Members of the Palestinian civil defense extinguish a fire in a building in the east of Rafah, the ...

Richard Roth and Tara John, CNN

US proposes a ‘temporary ceasefire’ in Gaza in draft UN resolution

The United States has proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Salt Lake County honors Juneteenth, activists call for it to be a national holiday