LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a proclamation Monday making Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery on June 19, a paid holiday for Los Angeles city employees.
“We want every child to know what Juneteenth commemorates. The day — June 19, 1865 — in which a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the last African Americans still held in bondage in this nation that they were free and the Civil War was over,” Garcetti said Monday.
Juneteenth is the commemoration of the end of slavery specifically in Galveston, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Enforcement of President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in August 2020 to initiate the process of making Juneteenth an official city holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. The motion was introduced by Councilmen Curren Price, Herb Wesson and Marqueece Harris-Dawson following June 2020 demonstrations demanding racial equity and justice in the country and to protest the killings of Black Americans at the hands of police.
“Juneteenth addresses the end of nation’s darkest days by acknowledging the historical significance, and it offers a glimpse, a small glimpse, of vindication,” Price said. “This will now be a day of remembrance for our city. At this time in our culture, we need to do everything in our power to … educate one another about the things left out of the history books, and we have to demonstrate inclusion and celebrate our progress, keeping in mind that we still have a long way to go.”
Juneteenth was recognized as an official federal holiday in 2021.