Juneteenth becomes an official holiday in New York

The day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people got extra attention this year during the unrest in America over social injustice.

News 12 Staff

Oct 16, 2020, 2:32 AM

Updated 1,319 days ago

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Juneteenth has become an official holiday in New York.
June 19, the day commemorating the emancipation of those who were enslaved, got extra attention this year during nationwide protests over social injustice.
In 1865 on June 19, a major general with the Union rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves they'd been freed, some two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In signing the legislation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, "This new public holiday will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today."
Cuomo says when it comes to New Yorkers who work for private companies or small businesses, it's going to be up to your employer to decide on whether it's a paid holiday.
Elaine Gross, of ERASE Racism, says it matters that the day is being recognized officially.
"I think it's important to mark the day, and people can do that in different ways ... they'll do it outside of work, but I think it is a history that's been forgotten," says Gross. "I know this year there were a number of corporations that reached out to us and they were having half days or maybe they gave their employees a full day, but they were using it as an educational opportunity."


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