By Florence Mafomemeh
Juneteenth is now officially a paid holiday for city employees in New York City come June 19, 2022.
Announcing the decision via Twitter on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams called Juneteenth a time for reflection, assessment, and self-improvement. “It’s time for our city to finally do what’s right and officially designate Juneteenth as a city holiday. This decision is long overdue, which is why it will immediately take effect this year,” the Mayor said.
Mayor Eric Adam’s full statement on Twitter.
Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and nineteen takes place on June 19, a symbolic date representing African American freedom from slavery. It is also known as African American Emancipation Day, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, which is often recognized as when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. However, Juneteenth recognizes when the last slaves were actually told about the president’s order.
The Juneteenth flag which was first created in 1997 has many symbols. It features a 12-pointed star with a white 5-pointed star inside it, with both stars appearing on top of a blue and red background.
The Juneteenth flag created in 1997 and revised in 2000, and in 2007, the date in white text, “June 19, 1865”, was added along the edge of the right border. The flag was revised in 2000 and in 2007, the date in white text, “June 19, 1865”, was added along the edge of the right border.
While signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021 making it a federal holiday, President Joe Biden said it is a day of remembrance. “This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” Biden said.
According to the Congressional Research Service, Juneteenth, which became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. day was established back in 1983, is recognized as a holiday or observance in 49 states and the District of Columbia while a handful made it a paid holiday.
Texas was the first state to celebrate Juneteenth in 1866 and it officially became a Texas state holiday on January 1, 1980 according to the Congressional Research Service. It wasn’t until 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution that slavery was abolished. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,” reads the 13th Amendment.