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On Wednesday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was going to sign an executive order making Juneteenth a holiday for state employees.
The holiday, which occurs on June 19, is a celebration of the end of slavery.
The Governor says he will work to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year.
Cuomo’s executive order follows the worldwide civil unrest that resulted from the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police last month.
During Cuomo’s morning briefing, he also discussed the coronavirus pandemic, reiterating that New York has gone from being the state with the highest infection rate to the one with the lowest.
When asked why it took so long for Juneteenth to be recognized as a holiday in New York, the governor said we “live and learn” and that society progresses.
“Hopefully we change for the better,” he added.
Brooklyn Borough Pres. Eric Adams recently sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling for New York City to establish Juneteenth as an official city holiday. “The city shouldn’t wait,” he said.
“The diversity of our city must be reflected in the diversity of our officially recognized holidays. In recent years, New York City has rightfully recognized Lunar New Year, Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Fitr as new holidays on the City calendar and, in light of the recent groundswell of response to the centuries-old inequality, disparity, and inhumanity that has been endured by Black and Brown people in this country, the time is long past due for this City to formally acknowledge and commemorate the more than 400 years of servitude rendered and the rich cultural traditions contributed by its African-American citizens,” he said in the letter.
I recently sent @NYCMayor a letter calling for #NYC to establish #Juneteenth as an official city holiday.@NYGovCuomo already made Juneteenth a state employees holiday this year — the City shouldn’t wait.#BlackLivesMatter #BLM #BlackLivesMatterNYC pic.twitter.com/AVFs7s32zz
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) June 17, 2020