Mayor Bill de Palacio announced Friday that starting next year, Juneteenth will officially be a holiday in New York City.
“We will work with all unions to work through the plan, and give this day the importance it deserves and recognize. Every city worker, every student will have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of our history and truth, and think about the work we have to do,” de Palacio said.
The city’s official appointment to the holiday also comes with the creation of a new committee working to understand the effects of structural and institutional racism in New York City and “creating a historical record of racial discrimination, with a focus on housing, criminal justice, the racial environment and public health,” according to a press release issued by the city.
“The African American-led movements have changed this country into essence and will continue. So, this is just the beginning of the recognition of this holiday, but we have a lot to do,” de Palacio said.
In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bawser issued a declaration in which he recognized on June 19 the “Juneteenth Day” in the nation’s capital, describing this year’s celebrations as “particularly important as Black Lives Matter demonstrations occur in all fifty American states and around the world to protest against centuries of police brutality and racism.” Methodology against African Americans. “
The Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Virginia, Virginia, Kansas, and Illinois governors were among state leaders who issued official announcements designating June 19 as “Juneteenth Freedom Day” or “Juneteenth Recognition Day”.
“We must do everything in our power to work together to dismantle generations of systemic racism in our state so that every person in Minnesota – black, indigenous, brown, and white – is safe and prosperous,” Falls said.
“Juneteenth’s history is not just black history – it’s American history,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, in his official statement, adding that the day represented “a pivotal moment in the American story that we should all celebrate.”
Many universities closed on Friday in honor of Juneteenth
An increasing number of colleges and universities nationwide closed on Friday in honor of Juneteenth.
“All faculty and staff will have a full day of paid vacations,” Harvard University President Lawrence Baku wrote in an email this week. “If you have to work on that day to support basic operations, your efforts will be recognized with another paid leave.
The announcements come as some universities are also considering removing statues, renaming buildings and switching amulets as part of the country’s largest call for changes in racism and systemic injustice.
“As I have said several times before, Columbia University is not innocent of the structures of racism that have struck America,” Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger said in an email Wednesday. “There is still a lot to do.”
“While we face the challenges of this moment, I hope this day will be a moment of reflection and a renewed commitment to the work of ethnic justice,” wrote Georgetown University President John J. Geojia.
Peaceful marches and gatherings see calls for action against racial inequality
Speaking to reporters on Friday at a Juneteenth event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Reverend Al Sharpton said that people should use the holiday to celebrate the independence and enslavement of black Americans.
“It reminds us that it took almost three years after the signing of the Declaration to Free People in Texas until they knew that slavery had ended. Even after that we passed 100 years since Jim Crowe. When we arrived after that we could not tell Sharpton that the vote.” “Now we are in an age when we are treated differently, even in a pandemic, health disparities, and disparities in criminal justice and the police.”
In Chicago, Illinois Governor Bill Pritzker and American sentiment Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth joined hundreds of people marching through the city’s downtown area, surrounded by signs bearing pictures of George Floyd.
In Washington DC, citizens gathered near Junction 14 and U Street for music performances, speeches, rope jumping competitions and more. CNN member Brian Todd said from the scene that chants could be heard calling for a package of reforms including equal pay, equal access to food and reallocation of police funds.
Los Angeles demonstrators can be heard talking not only about the historical significance of Juneteenth, but also about the fact that history indicates that slaves in Texas discovered that they were free in 1865, despite the signing of the Declaration of Emancipation two and a half years before that.
CNN’s Stephanie Elam said that the speakers at the rally can be heard “talking about controlling their own communities, owning their own, and also … about changing the relationship between the police and these neighborhoods.”
This report was contributed by Elizabeth Stewart, China Jones, and Holly Silverman of CNN.