Cuomo declares Juneteenth a holiday for state workers, will seek to make it a state holiday

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June 17, 2020 - 11:49 am
Juneteenth

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed an executive order making Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees, and he said he will seek to make it an official state holiday next year.

“Today I will sign an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees,” Cuomo said. “I will advance legislation to make it an official state holiday next year.”

The holiday, which takes place every June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

“It is a day we should all reflect upon. It is a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history,” Cuomo said.

Several states already observe Juneteenth. Texas was the first to make it a state holiday in 1980. Virginia’s governor proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday there earlier this week.

President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in Confederate territory on Sept. 22, 1862, but the news took time to travel. June 19, 1865, is the date when word of the proclamation reached African Americans in Texas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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