New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he would sign an executive order making Juneteenth a holiday for state employees this year, and would propose legislation to make it a state holiday starting next year.
New York joins other states, like Virginia, in moving to make the day an official holiday. A number of prominent companies like the NFL and Nike have also said they would make a holiday of the celebration this Friday.
Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is an annual celebration marking the end of the slavery in the United States. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, and the ensuing weeks of nationwide protests, there has been a renewed focus on the day -- which has already been a legal holiday in places like Texas for decades.
It also became a flashpoint for controversy after President Trump scheduled a rally in Tulsa on the day, a move the city's mayor called a slap in the face. (The rally was subsequently moved to Saturday.)