ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix City Council creates annual holiday to celebrate Juneteenth

Feb 3, 2022, 4:00 PM

People participate in a march in Brooklyn for both Black Lives Matter and to commemorate the 155th ...

People participate in a march in Brooklyn for both Black Lives Matter and to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth on June 19, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday, the second day of Black History Month, voted to make Juneteenth an annual municipal holiday.

Juneteenth has long been celebrated in the Black community on June 19, the date in 1865 when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

Often celebrated at first with church picnics and speeches, Juneteenth spread across the nation and internationally as Black Texans moved elsewhere.

The holiday, whose name is a combination of June and nineteenth, will be observed in Phoenix on the Monday after when June 19 is on a Sunday and the Friday before when June 19 is a Saturday.

City employees will get a paid day off and services will be limited on June 20 this year because June 19 falls on a Sunday.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill to create an annual federal Juneteenth holiday. It was the first federal holiday added since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego signed a Juneteenth proclamation on June 18, 2021, and said she would push to create a city holiday.

In November 2021, the West Valley suburb of Goodyear created an official Juneteenth holiday.

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Phoenix City Council creates annual holiday to celebrate Juneteenth