At the 89th Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, policy was adopted supporting the establishment of Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday. On July 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth Independence Day Act which passed the United States Senate by unanimous consent and passed the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
Celebrating the Establishment of Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday
WHEREAS, Congress found that four million Africans and their descendants were enslaved in the United States and its colonies beginning in 1619, and the institution of slavery violently and unconscionably depraved these individuals of life, liberty, dignity, heritage, and fundamental rights for over two centuries; and
WHEREAS, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring that all people held as slaves “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”; and
WHEREAS, despite those hallowed words, the institution of slavery remained intact in the United States, and fighting continued between the Union and the Confederacy for another two years; and
WHEREAS, on June 19, 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger and federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery; and
WHEREAS, the freed people of Texas organized "Jubilee Day" on June 19th the following year, which was celebrated every year thereafter and also came to be known as Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth; and
WHEREAS, 49 states and the District of Columbia have independently passed legislation to officially recognize or commemorate Juneteenth; and
WHEREAS, Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and the Congressional Black Caucus championed the effort to establish June 19th as a federal holiday, supported by Texas Senator John Cornyn and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey; and
WHEREAS, the United States Senate passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act by unanimous consent, and the United States House of Representatives approved the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support; and
WHEREAS, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed the bill into law on June 17, 2021, and Americans celebrated Juneteenth together as a nation for the first time on June 19, 2021; and
WHEREAS, President Biden reminded the country, “The emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didn’t mark the end of America’s work to deliver on the promise of equality; it only marked the beginning,"
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors commends federal lawmakers for passing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, rightfully elevating Juneteenth to a day of national significance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the nation’s mayors look forward to commemorating Juneteenth in our own communities and renewing our commitment to justice, equity, and freedom for all people each year.
Here's a Fact.
Only through the 13th Amendment did emancipation finally end slavery throughout the United States. Prior to the 13th Amendment, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which changed the legal status of 3.5 million slaves in the Confederate south, though its implementation was difficult. In the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865 when some 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The Union Army announced more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as "Juneteenth" by the newly freed people of Texas.
Black Americans since the 1800s have commemorated the day. 50 states have recognized Juneteenth by enacting some kind of proclamation.
Today, it's a federal holiday, but 26 states have not authorized the funding that could allow state employees to take the day off.
According to Pew Research, 24 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation or issued executive orders allowing for the day off. In June 2022, nearly 60% of Americans said they knew about the holiday compared to only 37% in May of 2021, according to a Gallup poll.
The 24 states and the District of Columbia that have made it a paid holiday are:
• District of Columbia
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
• New York
• South Dakota
• West Virginia
Governor Newsom Proclaims Juneteenth Day of Observance
Published: Jun 18, 2022
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation declaring June 18, 2022, as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance” in the State of California.
The text of the proclamation and a copy can be found below:
America does not only celebrate our independence on July 4. On June 19 each year, we look back to this day in 1865, on which Union General Gordon Granger led troops into Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the insidious institution of slavery. Thousands of enslaved people in Texas – among the last to learn of their independence – tasted hard-won freedom for the first time.
Over the next several decades, African-Americans who journeyed out of the South seeking better lives brought Juneteenth celebrations with them. The thousands who settled in California, especially in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, taught our state that America’s struggle for independence did not end in 1776 or 1865, but continues to this day.
This Juneteenth, I urge all Californians to reflect on the ongoing cause of freedom for Black Americans – remembering that, though General Granger’s announcement in 1865 called for “absolute equality,” that vision was, and remains, far from complete.
With the Juneteenth flag proudly raised over the State Capitol, let us celebrate how far we have come and take stock of how far we must go, and honor all those who have lived and died in pursuit of a more perfect union.
NOW THEREFORE I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim June 18, 2022, as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance.”
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of June 2022.
Governor of California
SHIRLEY N. WEBER, Ph.D.
Secretary of State