Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell declares Juneteenth a city holiday
PHOENIX — Mayor Mark Mitchell declared on Thursday night that Juneteenth will now be a holiday for all employees in the city of Tempe.
Prior to Mitchell’s declaration, protesters gathered in Tempe for the 15th consecutive day of demonstrations in the Valley in response to the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Dion Johnson in Phoenix.
#UPDATE Tempe City Council:
– will delay the budget vote to July 25 (saying this is due to Coronavirus)
– took nearly a 9 minute moment of silence in honor of George Floyd
– Declared June 19th (Juneteenth) a city holiday
— Taylor Kinnerup (@TaylorKinnerup) June 12, 2020
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day in which slaves in the state of Texas first learned that slavery had been abolished for nearly two and a half years through Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.
Texas was the last Confederate state to receive orders under the proclamation.
The city will also sponsor the annual Juneteenth event that is hosted by the African American Advisory Committee at Tempe History Museum.
This year’s edition had been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but options for a virtual event are currently being explored.
“We’re asking our employees and residents to take time this Juneteenth, and always, to educate themselves about African American heritage and honor the lives, sacrifices and contributions given to build the American fabric,” Mitchell said in a press release.
Mitchell is also encouraging supporting African American-owned business in Tempe, as well as donating to causes benefitting African Americans.