Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that beginning next year, Juneteenth will be an official city and school holiday. “Every city worker, every student will have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of our history and the truth and to think about the work we have to do ahead,” de Blasio said.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that slavery had been abolished more than two years earlier. Juneteenth marks the day that all enslaved people in the United States learned they were free.
Mayor de Blasio’s announcement comes the same week of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees. “Friday is Juneteenth — a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States — and it’s a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history,” Cuomo said.