EEI Recognizes Juneteenth
June 2020

A blending of the words "June" and "nineteenth," Juneteenth—also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day—memorializes the date enslaved Americans in Texas learned they had been granted their freedom.

History of Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863. 

Celebrating Juneteenth

In 1980, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as either a state or ceremonial holiday. Juneteenth will be a paid state holiday in Virginia this year, and Governor Ralph Northam has announced his intention to make this permanent.

Many use Juneteenth to reflect, take constructive action, or celebrate African-American  achievements, while encouraging respect for all cultures.


"This Friday marks Juneteenth, a time of reflection and remembrance, as we recognize the day when African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned about their freedom after the Civil War had ended. The events of the past few weeks are a sad reminder of the ongoing pain caused by racism and injustice. Let us use today to reaffirm our stance against racial intolerance and our commitment to diversity and inclusion. While we certainly have much work to do as a society, I truly believe we all have the power—individually and collectively—to effect change." – EEI President Tom Kuhn

"On this holiday in particular, I give thanks to those who came before me, who toiled through days and nights of pain and humiliation. It's a day of reflection for me. I'm thankful for the ancestors' spirit. I'm thankful for their endurance and unwavering grace in spite of it all." - Kwame Canty, Senior Director, External Affairs

"As I reflect on Juneteenth, my hope is that individuals continue to educate themselves on the issues of racial intolerance and unconscious bias beyond Friday, June 19. Race is an extremely difficult subject to discuss. However, for some of us, it's been a discussion we've had for years. Now is the time for reflection and positive change."- Cynthia Trueheart Owens, Senior Environmental Coordinator 

Industry Statement

On June 2, 2020, EEI, on behalf of our nation's investor-owned electric companies, released a statement speaking out against racial intolerance and reinforcing the industry's commitment to diversity and inclusion. Read the statement​.

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