June 19: At rallies and celebrations nationwide, more cities, states and universities set a public holiday

June 19: At rallies and celebrations nationwide, more cities, states and universities set a public holiday

The nineteenth, known as the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, is not yet a national holiday in the United States. While celebrated by Black Americans for over 150 years, states, cities and universities across the country have begun to recognize the often overlooked date as a date that deserves more recognition.

From next year, Juneteenth will be an official holiday in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.

“We will work with all the unions to work through the plan, to give this day the importance and recognition it deserves. Every employee of the city, every student will have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of history and the truth. us, and think about the work we need to do ahead, “de Blasio said.

The official definition of a city holiday also comes with the creation of a new committee to work on understanding the impact of structural and institutional racism on New York City and “creates a historical record of racial discrimination, with an emphasis on housing, criminal justice, the environment racism and public health, “according to a city press release.

“The movements of the African American people have changed this country at the core and will continue to do so. So this is just the beginning of recognizing this holiday, but we have a lot to do,” de Blasio said.

In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a proclamation recognizing June 19 as the “nineteenth day” in the nation’s capital, calling this year’s celebrations “particularly important as the Black Lives Matter protests take place in all 50 US states and across the globe.” to protest for centuries police brutality and systematic racism against African Americans. “

The rulers of Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Virginia, Kansas and Illinois were among the leaders of the state who issued official declarations designating June 19 as “Freedom Day” or “June 19”. Recognition of June 19. “

In Minnesota, where the assassination of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police began the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and around the world, Governor Tim Walz said in a statement that “the seventeenth marks the second day of independence. our country”.

“We must do everything possible to unite the generations of systemic racism in our state so that every person in Minnesota – Black, Native, Brown and White – can be safe and prosperous,” Walz said.

In an official statement, Virginia Governor Ralph Northham said “June’s story is not just black history – it’s American history”, adding that the day marked a defining moment in American history that we should all honor. “

Many universities closed on Friday in honor of June 19

A growing number of colleges and universities nationwide closed on Friday in honor of June 19.

“The whole school and staff will have a full day off,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacchus wrote in an email this week. “If you have to work that day to support basic functions, your efforts will be recognized by other rewards.”

The announcements come as some universities are also considering removing statues, renaming buildings and exchanging mascots as part of the country’s biggest appeal for changes in systemic racism and injustice.

“As I have said many times before, Columbia University is not innocent of the structures of racism that have plagued America,” Colombian President Lee C. Bollinger said Wednesday. “There’s still a lot to do.”

Other higher education institutions, including Cornell University and University of Pennsylvania honor Juneteenth as a “day of reflection”, while Georgetown and Drake have announced that Juneteenth will continue to be recognized as a celebratory annual.

“As we face the challenges of the moment, I hope this day will be a time of reflection and renewed commitment to racial justice,” said Georgetown President John Jetzia.

Peace marches and rallies call for activism against racial inequality

Speaking to reporters on Friday at an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Al Sharpton said people should celebrate to celebrate and honor the independence of enslaved black Americans.

“It reminds us that it took almost three years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence for the people of Texas to even know that the job was over. And even after that we spent 100 years with Jim Crow. “And now we are in a time when we are being treated differently, even in a pandemic of health inequalities, differences in criminal justice and policing,” Sharpton said.

People take to the streets during the 17th event organized by the One Race Movement in Atlanta, Georgia.

In Chicago, Illinois Governor Bill Pritzker and American Sens Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth walked into hundreds of people walking around the city, surrounded by placards with photos of George Floyd.

Earlier Friday, Pritzker tweeted that he was working with the general assembly of the state on “real reform of criminal justice, a fundamentally redesigned version of policing, continuous investment in black communities”.

In Washington, D.C., people gathered near the intersection of 14th Street and U Street for musical performances, speeches, jumping competitions and more. Voices could be heard about a series of reforms, including pay, equal access to food and redistribution of police funds, said Bryant Todd of CNN, who quoted the scene as saying.

 People pray together during a nineteenth event at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia.

Protesters in Los Angeles could be heard talking not only about the historic significance of June 19, but also about the fact that dates mark when slaves in Texas discovered they were free in 1865, despite the signing of the Declaration of Liberation. , two and a half years earlier.

Speakers at the rally could be heard “talking about controlling their communities, owning their communities, and also … about changing the relationship between the police and these neighborhoods,” said CNN’s Stephanie Elam.

Elizabeth Stewart, Sheena Jones and CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to the report.

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