Juneteenth will now become a public holiday in New York State.
Yesterday, October 14, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law, the legislation (S.8598/A.10628). This official day of recognition not only commemorates the end to slavery, it also pays homage to black culture, the freedom fighters, the achievers, and the ongoing struggle for equality in this nation.
It was on June 19, 1865 – two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – that news of the end of the Civil War and the ensuing liberation made its way across the country to Texas.
Of course the battle to achieve equality was just beginning – a battle that is still being fought today.
“I am incredibly proud to sign into law this legislation declaring Juneteenth an official holiday in New York State, a day which commemorates the end to slavery in the United States,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for New York State employees.
Senator Kevin Parker said, “Finally, we are beginning to acknowledge the historic oppression and injustices that African-Americans have endured. This holiday is a first step in reconciliation and healing that our great state needs in order to ensure equity for all people. Thank you Governor for your support and advocacy.”
Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman said, “Juneteenth serves as a piece of history towards Black liberation in this country. I am glad to serve along with my colleagues in government and Governor Cuomo, as a part of ensuring these important parts of Black American history will continued to be told in our great state of New York.”
Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19. In Buffalo, The Juneteenth Festival was started in 1976, and to this day has become a rallying cry for preserving, celebrating, and honoring regional and worldly black culture.
Photos courtesy Juneteenth of Buffalo