Virginia, New York Declare Juneteenth a State Holiday

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday, June 16, 2020 that he's making Juneteenth an official holiday in a state that was once home to the capital of the Confederacy.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday, June 16, 2020 that he's making Juneteenth an official holiday in a state that was once home to the capital of the Confederacy. AP Photo/Steve Helber

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Governors in both states are giving state workers a paid day off as they propose legislation to commemorate the emancipation of slaves.

Governors of Virginia and New York announced efforts this week to make Juneteenth a state holiday to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the United States.

While the majority of states commemorate or recognize the day in some way, only Texas currently recognizes June 19 as a paid state holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the day that the last slaves in Texas and the Confederate South were freed in 1865. While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation legally freed all slaves across the United States in 1863, it took time for the news to travel and word of the proclamation reached African Americans in Texas on June 19, 1865. 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said making the day a state-sponsored holiday elevates its importance to all residents.

“It says to Black communities, this is not just your history, this is everyone’s shared history and we recognize it together,” Northam said.

The decision is notable for Virginia in particular, once home to the capital of the Confederacy, where state lawmakers this year did away with a 116-year-old state holiday that honored rebel generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. 

While Northam noted that emancipation did not stop racism against African Americans, he said celebrating the date that enslaved people were freed in the United States is an “important symbol.”

“By commemorating it, we push people to think about the significance of June 19,” he said.

Both Virginia and New York will give state employees a paid holiday this Friday as they pursue legislation to make Juneteenth a permanent holiday.   

“It is a day that we should all reflect upon and it is a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference Wednesday.

Juneteenth commemorations are just one way that lawmakers across the country are responding to the public outcry over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, who died after a white police officer pinned the man’s neck to the ground using his knee. Floyd’s death has led to nationwide protests against police brutality as well as heightened awareness about the ways systemic racism affects African Americans.

Many cities are also removing Confederate statutes and monuments, which demonstrators have targeted as symbols of slavery, white supremacy and segregation. Elsewhere, lawmakers are examining ways to reduce police misconduct and weed out bad cops.  

Texas established Juneteenth as a state holiday in 1980.

Washington, D.C. celebrates its own Emancipation Day on April 16, marking the date in 1862 when the District abolished slavery and freed more than 3,000 enslaved people.

Some private companies have also recently announced that they will make Juneteenth a paid holiday for workers. 

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

NEXT STORY: Coronavirus Sparks New Debate Over City's Fireworks Ban

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.