New York City declares Juneteenth an official holiday

new york

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that Juneteenth – the 19 June date which marks the end of US slavery – will become an official holiday. It comes as millions of Americans plan to commemorate, with marches and personal observances, the 1865 date when the last US slaves were freed.

Several states already observe the day as an official holiday and there is a push to declare it a national holiday.

The date’s significance has grown this year amid Black Lives Matter protests. Mayor de Blasio said in a press conference on Friday that the date would be marked as an official city holiday beginning in 2021, and will also be a public school holiday. “We’ll work with all the unions to work through the plan, give this day the importance and recognition it deserves,” Mr de Blasio said. “Every city worker, every student will have the opportunity to reflect the meaning of our history and the truth.” Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an order making Juneteenth – also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day – a paid holiday for state workers.(BBC)…[+]