By Carol Tannenhauser
June 19th is Juneteenth, the oldest commemoration of the actual ending of slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth is the day in 1865 that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, more than two years after it was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, as an executive order.
Now it is an official New York City paid holiday, declared so by Mayor Eric Adams on Monday. This year, the 19th falls on a Sunday, so workers will have the following Monday off.
“Juneteenth’s recognition in New York City trails slightly behind state and federal measures to mark the momentous day, a holiday that Adams described in his statement as a ‘time for reflection, assessment and self-improvement,'” according to the Daily News.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made Juneteenth a paid holiday for state workers by executive order in June 2020. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the spring of 2021. “The House passed legislation to make it a holiday by an overwhelming 415 to 14 vote, with only scattered Republican resistance,” the Daily News reported.
“As the second Black mayor of New York City, I know that I stand on the shoulders of countless heroes and sheroes who put their lives on the line to secure a more perfect union,” Adams said. “Now is the time for me to do a small part and recognize one of our nation’s greatest wrongs….This decision is long overdue, which is why it will immediately take effect this year.”