Pharrell Williams is helping to make history in his home state of Virginia.
On Tuesday, the musician joined Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam at a press conference to propose that June 19—the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—is officially made a state holiday. Virginia would be the second state in the United States to make the historic date, or Juneteenth as it’s referred to, a holiday, the first being Texas.
During the press conference, Pharrell, a native of Virginia Beach, said of the proposal, “This is our chance to lead, to truly embrace the importance of Juneteenth and to treat it as a celebration of freedom that Black people truly deserve.”
According to Northam, all state employees would be given a paid day off to celebrate the newly minted holiday. Although, Williams added, “I would like to see corporations that call Virginia their home give people the paid day off.”