Juneteenth Gets Holiday Status!


Juneteenth or June 19th is known as Emancipation Day, Liberation Day, Freedom Day, or Jubilee Day recognizes the day in 1865 when Union army general Gordon Granger read the federal orders that proclaimed all the slaves in Texas were free. The Emancipation Proclamation had declared the end of slavery two years prior, however enforcement of this in Texas was inconsistent. In 1980 Juneteenth became an official holiday in Texas.

On June 17, 2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that made June 19th a state holiday for state employees beginning this year.

Here is a summary excerpt:
“WHEREAS, the observance of Juneteenth honors the history, perseverance, and achievements of African Americans, and celebrates America’s progress and continuing commitment to realizing the principles of liberty and equality upon which our nation was founded. WHEREAS, this observance is a reminder of the hardships and losses suffered by African Americans in their struggle to attain freedom, and we pay tribute to the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in this quest. … . WHEREAS, it is fitting that all New Yorkers join to commemorate such an important day in our nation’s history, as we take this opportunity to reflect upon and rejoice in the freedom and civil rights that we all share as Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the Constitution of the State of New York, specifically Article IV, section one, and the laws of the state of New York do hereby recognize June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth, which shall be a holiday for state employees, who if not required to work, shall be entitled to leave at full pay without charge to existing accruals and for those employees who are required to work, they shall receive one day of compensatory time.”

In addition several national corporations and local employers have followed suit.

St. Nicks Alliance has given their staff a paid day off on June 19th, “In honor of Juneteenth, tomorrow the offices of St Nicks Alliance will be  officially closed and all staff will have the day off. We ask staff to use this day as a day of reflection, public service and advocacy,” said Exec. Dir. Michael Rochford in his notification to the staff.

The following companies have also given their staff a paid day off to reflect and pay observance: Adafruit, Adobe, Allstate, Altria, Best Buy, BetaNYC, Columbia University, Corcoran Real Estate, CUNY,  Estee Lauder, EPIX, Fiat/Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Google, JP Morgan, J.C. Penney, Lyft, Mastercard, Mondelez International, NFL, Nike, Northside Charter High School, NYU, Postmates, RXBar, Spotify, Target, Treatment Action Group, Twitter and Square, Uber, Weill Cornell Medicine, Workday, with more joining this list.

Those companies above who remain open on this day or have staff working have allowed for workarounds like Flex Time or staff to be paid at time-and-a-half, etc.

Here are some suggestions from Bedford+Bowery as to how to use your day off.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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