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Oregon House passes bill making Juneteenth official state holiday

(Update: Adding video, lawmaker comment)

June 19 widely recognized as the day slavery in the US officially ended

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Riccardo Waites, the founder of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly, said Friday the Oregon House recognizing Juneteenth as a formal state holiday brings "legitimacy" to the day.

On Thursday, the Oregon House unanimously passed HB 2168 to officially recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. The bill now moves to the Senate.

“I think it’s a really good step in the right direction," Waites told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. "It shows that Oregon as a state is looking for equality.”

In 2001, Oregon adopted Senate Joint Resolution 31, declaring June 19 as a day of observance.

Waites hopes the bill will pass in the Senate, educating Oregonians on the importance of the date.

“It’s important that people not of color understand that this is an important holiday for us," Waites said. "We welcome them to celebrate with us. It should be an American holiday for everyone, because that’s the day slavery really was ended.”

State Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, was one of the unanimous votes for the bill.

“I think it was really important for us to vote on that last night and make it a state holiday," Kropf told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. "(We need to) acknowledge our past and tackle our long-standing systemic racism in this country.”

News release from Oregon House Democrats:

Oregon House Passes Bill Making Juneteenth Official State Holiday
HB 2168 will establish Juneteenth as an official state holiday, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved peoples in the U.S. and celebrating the dignity, freedom and contributions of Black Americans.
SALEM, OR—The Oregon House passed House Bill 2168, which would make Juneteenth an official state holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved peoples in the U.S., while also celebrating the dignity, freedom and contributions made by Black Americans. The bill formally establishes Juneteenth on June 19. 

In 1945, Clara Peoples introduced Juneteenth to Oregon during her work break, celebrating the day at the Vanport shipyards. Peoples and Black Oregonians have made long-lasting contributions to Oregon’s history and cultural legacy that have led us to this moment.  

“We remember the legacy of Clara Peoples, ‘Mother of Juneteenth,’ and the annual celebrations that kept this tradition alive long before this holiday was officially recognized,” said Rep. Janelle Bynum (D- Clackamas), Chair of the BIPOC Caucus. 

In Oregon, the Legislative Assembly adopted Senate Joint Resolution 31 in 2001, to declare observance of "Juneteenth, June 19 of each year, to be a day for celebration statewide of the dignity and freedom of all citizens." 

“By making Juneteenth an official state holiday, we can both confront and acknowledge our shameful history of racial discrimination and white supremacist violence, while celebrating and recognizing the contributions Black Americans have made and continue to make in the face of systemic inequities,” said House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland), chief sponsor of the bill. “Juneteenth can help Oregon look to a future of racial equity and justice.” 

The first Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas in 1866, where Black communities gathered for parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, as well as musical performances. In 1980, Texas officially made the day a holiday, and since, 47 states and the District of Columbia have commemorated the day by marking it either as a state holiday or observance.

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support and now moves to the Senate.
Central Oregon / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories
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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.



  1. Cool, another day off with pay. Oh, wait. I work in the private sector, not for a government agency, I will be at work anyway paying for the holiday for someone else to have. but hey, No worries, Creepy China Joe Obiden will fix everything!!!!

      1. Ahh, twist you just a little bit? Unlike you, I have no problem working. Go have another hit of your choice of recreational bliss and get back to your video game basement-dwelling life. But hey, No worries, Be Happy, Creepy China Joe Obiden will fix everything!!!!!

        1. you have no idea what real work is whiny boy – people who do don’t publicly whine about others not working, because it’s just work, what grown ups who are not stupid rich do

          – in case you have other of your weird proclivities to project on me – haven’t owned a TV in 20? years – who has time for such crap? – some of us work

    1. …to someone who has no concept of history, its ramifications, or the lives of people who might have slightly different experiences as yourself

      1. BoZo,
        There’s not one country in the world that hasn’t had slavery including Africa in fact there are places in this world today where slavery exists like the Democrats beloved China. There is only one country in the world that fought a civil war to end slavery and that would be the USA.

  2. “It’s important that people not of color”

    You progressives are the most racist people ever. EVERYONE is divided by race in your eyes. There are no individuals. Only melanin content. You should be ashamed. And you got an old white racist man for president now. Go on and defend his working with segregationists so his son’s don’t have to live in a “racial jungle.” Defend Biden throwing out “N” bombs all over. Go defend Biden having a KKK exalted cyclops as a political mentor. You act as if “people of color” are infants that can only function with rich white liberal democrats to provide them with everything and save them from boogeymen in exchange for their vote. If there is an issue of “superiority” in the world it is the progressives feeling that they are far superior to any one else and that “people of color” are inferior to the wise generous progressive that is their only hope in life.

      1. So Bozo- what does history tell us ? That Africans and Egyptians created the global slave trade. Africans sold their brothers into slavery through violent conquests of villages and whole regions. History tells us that very few slaves were owned in the US- and those owners were Demokrat supporters who eventually dragged the whole nation into Civil War. Where blacks were gifted their freedom- and went on to educate themselves and create the largest amount of personal wealth for their race… globally ! None of this keeps me from living in the present- so let’s not bloviate a buncha nonsense- creating a homogenized Amerika may be part of your dream- but I’m sure Dr. King would scold you unmercifully for your political BS.

      2. We are to assume you have come to terms with history and that you are not a race hustler? There’s more than one explanation for everything, but you only seem to have one.

    1. Spot on my friend, accurate and solid post, you nailed it perfectly, but I’m sure you will get pushback on this, but what’s new with the left. Correct about Biden, he is a racist, and that party likes to use their new word ” equity ”
      They are hypocrites, Biden signs a bill to fund other countries for abortions, so where is the equity for the unborn child.
      And I don’t need a holiday for equity, I’m not a racist never have been, they are dividing people by pushing this down our throats.
      This is how racist I’m am, if I’m standing there and watching them murder George Floyd, I would put a bullet in that cops head and taken my chances in court trying to protect a man from being killed,period. These loser crying dems need to stop using this as one of there platforms.
      Great post, keep it up, common sense and reason, which would mean more than likely you are over 30 even 40.

    2. Sounds like the spam calls woke you up from your afternoon nap and you need to unload. By your diatribe it appears that you’re the one that’s discriminating, only it’s by thinking a bit different than you (assuming, of course, that you actually think). Have a sparkling day in sunny Central Oregon.

  3. So when will my people, the Irish, stop being discriminated against?

    We have a racist holiday that stereotypes our drinking.
    The leprechaun is still on the lucky charms box, whereas aunt jemima and uncle Ben were removed.
    We were hated as illegals for coming over and stealing jobs for cheap labor.


    1. “ British newspapers in the 19th century relished in depicting the Irish as sub-human, depicting them in editorial cartoons as ape-like creatures, not yet worthy of ascension up the evolutionary ladder to the human condition, much less the hubris then engrained of all things British. On the floor of the House of Lords in 1848, during the height of five years of mass starvation due to a failure of Ireland’s potato crop, the Irish were characterized as wicked, indolent, ignorant and perverse.” free history lesson for all that celebrate st Patrick’s day

      1. you, of all people, coming from people who were mistreated, should understand this – if you don’t want to be treated as a joke, don’t look the other way when other people are treated as such a

        1. Why don’t you start defending your racist views of melanin content? Quite the copy pasta and srgue why you’re so much more superior then everyone.

            1. So should we or should we not “culturally appropriate” on St. Paddy’s? I might have a wee bit of Irish as my genetics make me somewhat of a european mongrel.

            2. I was replying to another comment below and somehow clicked on your comment. But nonetheless, melanin content is a more accurate statement than “black person”. Is the skin tone of a person a noun or an adjective?

        2. Lol. My people don’t cry about being mistreated. We go out and make a name for ourselves without the need of government assistance. The Irish population has barely recovered from the potato famine

  4. OK. Wow. Can’t follow without looking stupid, yeah? Yet, here I go on my mission:
    I believe when people come together to cook, eat, sing, talk and dance then connection happens. I love connection. I am very comfortable in this type of setting and treasure the honest sharing of traditions and cultures together.
    Madras had the Collage of Culture annually which was always fun and interesting. Mostly FUN. With good food Mmmmmmmmmmm.

  5. I am a person of color also! This goes beyond ridiculous, to give state employees another paid holiday as they do so damn little in the area of taking care of the public right now! When will this idiocy stop in the dysfunctional state of Kate Brownie?

    1. I’m not a person of color . . . and I agree with you! This isn’t a sign of unity, it’s a sign of racism. Are there state holidays for Asians? Pacific Islanders? Native Americans? White Americans? Hispanic Americans? Maybe there should now be a state holiday for different ethnic groups? You right on, government employee’s would love to have declared state holidays for each of those groups . . . they’d only have to work a few days a year with full pay.

        1. If you don’t have anything of value to contribute, stop making yourself look like a MORON by attempts at bullying (which Barney and KTVZ obviously doesn’t have a problem with) through personal attacks. Bullying is only allowed by Barney and KTVZ when it is directed at Conservatives . . . right Barney?

            1. How did BGHW get dragged into this again ? Don’t you have a liberal loudmouth bully here that you can make an example out of- if not- it just proves Sharder8’s point ! Cmon B- instead of defending your liberal views with talk- get out there and get the latest dirt of Hunter Biden and his laptop- the current melt-down on our US Southern borders- Biden’s attempts to confiscate guns… these are all major stories being blocked out by the liberal media- so go ahead- you know the rest… “Prove Me Wrong” !

            2. Un-friend??? Damn! And hear I always thought you were male. How did I know it was that time in your month??? Bully you? P-f-f-f-t-t-t-t-t! All I ever asked was that you be a journalist and do your job vs. being a propagandist. Not to forget, honest and truthful reporting.

              1. And as you well know, I defended my/our reporting, explained I don’t write our national news feed, etc.
                But you treated me in a fashion where you know I unfriended you. Friends don’t beat each other up with words, unfairly.

              2. It’s called “manstration” and it occurs to male liberal ideologists when confronted with facts instead of half-truths and bald-faced lies. What yer all seeing is how one copes when a year long lie slowly unravels in public view… the raging hormones- the fury over being caught red-handed- the realization that there is no place to run- so just shout your way out of it. I feel for Mr. B- he had to make a tough choice- go along with the charade- or face the real possibility of unemployment- like so many Oregonians have had to suffer through. I’ve tried to keep him grounded- but to no avail. There’s not much kite this wizard from behind the curtain can do anymore- but see where the hot air balloon takes him !

    2. Remember in the democrats’ and progressives eyes your “color” is what defines you. you are not an individual with individual experiences. You ARE your color and nothing more. You are to vote a certain way, you are to act a certain way, and you are to look to people like Joe Biden, who was besties with KKK member Robert Byrd, to even have a chance. Like Biden said, “If you don’t support me you ain’t black.”

  6. I will identify it as a day of shame for the democrat party, the party of slavery.
    And the party of Jim Crow, segregation, and the kkk (Even Biden feared sending his screwed up kids into a “racial jungle).
    How fitting that we have an old white racist, cheated into Office by democrats, who is comfortable telling black people how to act if they want to continue being black.
    Meanwhile, the next generation of liberal slaves are pouring across our southern border, along with terrorists, covid and cartels.
    Maybe we can all get Kwanzaa off too?

    1. sure thing, Old Food – your take (spin) on every aspect of the world around you is a real hoot – it does seem to get your friend Epstein excited though

      1. You are a typical liberal, Tia, blather-bombing instead of facing the incompetence (and maybe incontinence) of the drooling idiot you elected.
        Joe does know how to get it done, though… it took no time at all to destroy our southern border, engage in state sponsored human trafficking and abuse, run up massive debt to cover political favors and begin the destruction of SCOTUS.

        1. Indeed, for someone to have voted for dementia Joe like Tio, despite his obvious complete loss of train of thought and cognitive dysfunction, is mind boggling. They were concerned Trump used both hands one time to drink from a cup and were convinced he had a neurologic disorder. Whatever the skin tone, he’s not competent and China, Russia and Iran surely have this calculated into their foreign policies by now.

  7. Why were comments shut off for a period of time? Another Colonial attempt to justify the terrorist acts committed while taking all that could be taken! Nothing more than a bunch of Guilt-Ridden white folks being WHITE!

  8. Another paid day off. Sweet! Now if I could just get Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day off, that’d be cool as well.
    Laugh at the PC crowd all the way to the bank. Thanks!

  9. So as these useful idiots celebrate their new found legitimacy . One of their co-founders of the blm shakedown Patrisse Cullor has bought a $1.4 mil home in Topanga Canyon. She has chosen a primarily White conservative neighborhood where she’ll be safe from rioting, burning, and looting. So Black lives do matter, especially when exploiting them for personal gain.

    1. This entire woke culture is and always has been scamming their own. Praying on their own stupidity. It would be funny if it wasn’t over real issues being mishandled and exploited like it is by these woke’es.

      1. An updated report shows blm founder’s buying binge may total $3.2 just in the US. Also properties in the Bahamas with Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods as neighbors. In 2020 blm hit the lottery with the George Floyd shakedown pulling in $90 mil from corporations and individuals paying penance.

    2. It’s the PEOPLE’S house. Just no one is welcome. She set up the most successful protection racket since Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

  10. America celebrates VE Day- Victory in Europe (marking the end of WWII)- VJ Day- Victory over Japan (the day they surrendered)… it’s now time to celebrate the day that America won the Civil War and freed the slaves as VD Day- victory over the Democrats ! Anyone care to disagree !

  11. Thank you Barnetgetshiswish for remembering the hundreds of thousands of white men who died to free the slave. They fought for slaves they did not even know. They are forgotten by BLM.

  12. Anything we can do to recognize and confront the still festering legacy of 4 centuries of slavery in our hemisphere is all to the good. To address this atrocity, we need to understand its history. There is context for everything.

    1. Meanwhile for those who actually read other publications and articles in an attempt to become truly educated –

      “The reparationists claim that the United States must compensate the descendants of slaves for 400 years of slavery. Since the United States was not established until 1788 (when the required three-fourths majority of the states approved the Constitution), slavery existed for only 77 years before the 13th Amendment abolished it.” McGrath also writes about the number of Whites who owned slaves in the January issue of Chronicles Magazine:”

      But it is easier to pretend you know a thing or two…

    2. Yup. Let’s place this in context. Slaves in Texas that were kept from learning that the war was over and that they were free. Then, on Juneteenth (or whatever actual date you want to assign) they heard the news. Sounds like going from slave to free should be an important moment to remember and celebrate.

      1. Yup- Let’s really place this in context… The VP of the United State’s family (Kamala Harris) owned slaves ! Benefited from their free labor- probably beat them- kept them in chains- no telling what else with a noose and a old oak tree. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate- that instead of hiding out in Little Lyin’ Joey’s bunker- for her to come out and come clean as to exactly what did happen on her plantations- and how she has paid reparations- and eased her conscience… I for one have no pony in this race- my ancestors never owned slaves- so what does any of this have to do with me ?

  13. Ridiculous… Making it a holiday isn’t going to change the past or the future,
    and it’s not going to change modern day racism. This is nothing but an attempt
    to appease the black community, especially those involved in the blm movement.
    I can only assume that there will be movements to establish holidays for all
    other races because otherwise the racism that they complain about continues…

  14. I am all for celebrating freedom. Slavery is a terrible institution and we are a better country without it—that is worth recognition and a day of reflection and celebration. I do not see this as a holiday for one race over another, but rather as a celebration of humans overcoming severe wrongdoing. We improved as a country that day, and it’s worth coming together, noting, and celebrating that. Long live freedom!

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