Lawmakers pass bill to make Juneteenth an official New York state holiday

State News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The New York State Legislature has passed a bill, S8598/A10628, turning Juneteenth into a holiday statewide. Juneteenth celebrates Black Americans’ freedom, cultural contributions, and achievements in American history.

The legislation designates June 19 as a public holiday. This date commemorates the true end of slavery in 1865 Texas, when America’s last slaves learned of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Union victory.

“Every day our communities witness a continued fight for justice and equality,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kevin Parker. “Designating Juneteenth a public holiday gives us a chance to recognize our liberties, honor our ancestor’s struggle for emancipation, and send a clear message that we value this significant moment in history.”

Having passed the Assembly on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, the new Juneteenth statute still needs to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become a law. Juneteenth was already declared a holiday for government workers in the city of Albany, the County of Albany, Troy, and New York state, among other locations.

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