MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and members of the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus got an early start to Juneteenth celebrations on Tuesday, raising a Juneteenth Flag over the state Capitol.

It’s the fifth time Evers has ordered the flag to be flown in Madison. He began the tradition in 2020 – just one year before Juneteenth became a national holiday.

Juneteenth, which gets its name from its date – June 19, honors the day in 1865 that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.

“When we celebrate Juneteenth, it is not just acknowledging the freedom we have, but the things we have to move forward and the things we have to fight for,” said Rep. Dora Drake, a Democrat from Milwaukee who leads the Legislative Black Caucus.

Drake and other speakers at Tuesday’s flag-raising tied the Juneteenth holiday to liberal priorities including abortion rights and voting rights. Greg Jones, president of the Dane County NAACP, was in the audience at the event and echoed concerns about losing freedoms.

“We are now fighting for some of those same rights – some of the same constitutional rights – that our forefathers fought for back in the days of the establishment of the first Juneteenth program,” he said.

The Juneteenth Flag will remain above the Capitol until Wednesday evening, according to the governor’s office.

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