Juneteenth will be a paid city holiday for New York City workers this year, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.
"As the second Black mayor of New York City, I know that I stand on the shoulders of countless heroes and sheroes who put their lives on the line to secure a more perfect union," Adams said.
Juneteenth, on June 19th, marks the day in 1865, two months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, that enslaved Black people in Texas were told by Union soldiers that they had been freed.
Its profile has risen in the wake of national conversations on racism and inequality, and two years ago, then Mayor Bill de Blasio said it would be “an official city holiday" starting in 2021.
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The New York Times first reported that labor negotiations with unions representing city workers had not started in time to designate Juneteenth a holiday last year.
"It’s time for our city to finally do what’s right and officially designate Juneteenth as a city holiday. This decision is long overdue, which is why it will immediately take effect this year," Adams added.
Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year when signed into law by President Joe Biden, becoming the 12th federal holiday and first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
New York State will celebrate the holiday for a second time this year. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order in Oct. 2020 to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees.