State and local governments are preparing to celebrate the latest state holiday: June 16th – Low Calorie Diets Tips

June 6, 2022

Jill Dvorkin


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June 19, or “June,” commemorates the day in 1865 that the last enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, learned of the Emancipation Proclamation and the abolition of slavery, nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation 1. January 1863. June 16 has been celebrated across the country for more than 150 years and is known by many names including Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Black Independence Day and Emancipation Day.

In June 2021, President Biden signed legislation making June 11 the 11th US federal holiday. Likewise, the Washington State Legislature passed SHB 1016, making June 16 a paid state holiday effective July 2021. Because June 19 is a Sunday this year, it will be observed as a public holiday for the first time on Monday, June 20, 2022.

How do some local governments in Washington recognize June 16th?

While local governments are not required to adhere to either the state or federal statutory vacation schedule – see RCW 1.16.050(6) – many have followed suit and have officially recognized June 16 as a paid holiday for their employees. Jurisdictions that have adopted June 16 as a public holiday include Asotin, Battle Ground, Bellingham, Bremerton, Burien, Burlington, Centralia, Edmonds, King County, Lynnwood, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, Snohomish County, Sumner, Walla Walla , Woodway and Yakima.

Olympia has an agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters-Mechanics that makes June 16 a paid holiday, and examples of June 16 proclamations are in the MRSC’s Sample Document Library, including the Kirkland proclamation and the resolution from Snohomish County.

How is June 16th celebrated?

People celebrate June 16 in a variety of ways, with events focused on Black history, traditions, and culture. Common activities include picnics, BBQs, parades, rodeos, and family and community gatherings. Red foods and drinks — including red sodas and sodas, barbecue, watermelon, and red velvet cake — are often consumed. People and organizations also commemorate the holiday through acts of service and learning. Last year, the Washington State Historical Society compiled several June 16 resources on its website, including links to local celebrations.

Many local governments sponsor Juneteenth events. In 2020, Grand Rapids, Michigan added Juneteenth as one of only five city-sponsored events, and that year the city changed its local ordinances to allow fireworks to be fired on June 16. In 2021, the City of Lynnwood hosted an online June 16 celebration, offering free red velvet cakes in a drive-through setting. This year, the City of Tukwila and the King County Library System are partnering to host an event that includes books and resources and civic engagement for youth, and the City of Vancouver is co-sponsoring a June 16 Freedom Celebration at a local park .

Local Efforts to Promote Racial Justice in Washington State

In the wake of the assassination of George Floyd and other racially motivated crimes and injustices, many local governments have made new or renewed commitments to advance racial justice and justice within government and in their communities. MRSC has compiled several examples of local initiatives and resources in these two blogs: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in Washington State and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in Washington State – 2021 Update.

One such initiative is the City of Tacoma’s Heal the Heart program, which is run by the community to transform Tacoma into an anti-racist community. As part of the initiative, six transformation teams will work on housing, health, economic justice, education, the environment and public safety. Central to the Heal the Heart program is recognizing harms caused by longstanding systems and institutions, fostering a deeper understanding of those harms by listening to affected communities, repairing the harms through harm reduction and prevention actions, and the Transforming systems through collaborative collaboration.


If your agency has already declared June 16 a public holiday, take the opportunity to commemorate and celebrate this important day in history. If your agency wants to officially recognize the holiday but has not yet done so, they can use one of the examples above as a guide. If your public agency is interested in planning or co-sponsoring its own June 16 event, A How-To Guide to Sponsoring Summer Celebrations has some helpful tips on local government-sponsored celebrations. Finally, if your public agency wants to do more to advance racial and social justice issues, in addition to the resources in the blogs linked above, MRSC has created the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources for Local Governments website.

MRSC is a private non-profit organization serving local government in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Jill Dvorkin

Jill joined MRSC in June 2016 as Legal Counsel after serving nine years as Assistant District Attorney for Skagit County. At Skagit County, Jill advised the planning department on a variety of topics including permit and appeal processing, Growth Management Act (GMA) compliance, code enforcement, SEPA, legislative processes and public records. Jill was born and raised in Fargo, ND, then moved to Bellingham to attend college and experience a new part of the country (and mountains!). She earned a BA in Environmental Policy and Planning from Western Washington University and graduated with a JD from the University of Washington School of Law in 2003.


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