Cuomo wants to make Juneteenth a state holiday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 June 2020 at 12:28 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is signing an executive order to make Juneteenth a holiday for state employees.

The order would be in effect for Friday, June 19. That date is celebrated as the anniversary for the ending of slavery in 1865.

“This is a first step for our state,” the governor said during a news conference today.

He will push to have Juneteenth be an official state holiday next year.

“Friday is Juneteenth – a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States – and it’s a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history,” Governor Cuomo said. “Although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and we have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities.

“I am going to issue an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees and I’ll propose legislation next year to make it an official state holiday so New Yorkers can use this day to reflect on all the changes we still need to make to create a more fair, just and equal society.”

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news of liberation came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

African Americans across the state were made aware of their right to freedom on this day when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state.

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