Brooklyn Boro

Juneteenth becomes an official holiday in New York

October 15, 2020 Associated Press and Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation officially making Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, a New York state holiday.

“This new public holiday will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community, while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today,” said Cuomo in a statement.

The Democrat had used an executive order to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees this year. The state Legislature had passed a bill in July to make it a state holiday.

A man carried a child on his shoulders as they marched near Central Park during a 2020 Juneteenth celebration in New York. Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP File

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, but it wasn’t until June 19th, 1865, that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, found out about it from Union army personnel, making them among the last to know about their freedom.

Finally, we are beginning to acknowledge the historic oppression and injustices that African-Americans have endured,” said State Sen. Kevin Parker, who represents parts of Brooklyn including Flatbush, East Flatbush, Ditmas Park, Midwood, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope. “This holiday is a first step in reconciliation and healing that our great state needs in order to ensure equity for all people. Thank you Governor for your support and advocacy.”

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