This summer’s widespread social-justice protests demanding police reform, racial equity, investment in social services, and a reckoning on systemic racism cast a spotlight on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.
Various states and cities have since made Juneteenth a paid holiday for their workers. Now, Miami-Dade commissioners have approved a measure making June 19 a paid holiday for county employees.
Four-term commissioner Barbara J. Jordan sponsored the measure, which was unanimously approved on October 20. Jordan, who for years has advocated for reinstatement of the county’s police-oversight board, will step down from office next month because of term limits.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of liberation and achievement for African-Americans, and I’m thrilled that Miami-Dade County will be joining communities around the country that commemorate it as a holiday,” Jordan said in a press release.
The holiday applies to non-bargaining employees and employees whose union contracts provide for taking the day.
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that those who were enslaved would be freed. The Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery more than two years earlier, but notification arrived slowly to the states.