Subscribe Today! Please read: Readers of local content on the Herald and News website – – will require a subscription beginning today. For the first few months, non-subscribers will still be able to view 10 articles for free. If you are not already a subscriber, now is a great time to join for as little as $10/month!

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth in Oregon and will introduce a bill in 2021 to make it a state holiday.

Brown said celebrating black freedom this year “is fiercely important as people around the world protest systemic racism and undeniably show that Black Lives Matter.”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the Union army brought word of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved people in Texas. It is celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States.

“I know this is a small, yet important step. I encourage all Oregonians to join me in observing Juneteenth by getting educated on systemic racism in this country and getting involved in the fight for racial justice" she said in a news release.

Brown also said she would appoint a Public Safety Training and Standards Task Force to recommend improvements to the training and certification of Oregon law enforcement officers.

The task force will be chaired by the Governor’s Public Safety Policy Advisor, Constantin Severe, and other members will be announced soon, she said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.