Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined by Councilmember Curren Price Monday to sign a proclamation making Juneteenth an official city holiday. In 2020 during civil unrest, Price introduced the original motion to make Juneteenth a holiday in LA.
“This is a long-awaited bittersweet moment,” said Price. “Juneteenth marks the end of our nation’s darkest days by acknowledging its historical significance and offering a sense of vindication. Juneteenth for the Black community serves as a brighter chapter. Our freedom day. Our true day of emancipation. This will now be a day of remembrance for our city.”
Following the proclamation signed by the mayor on Monday, the city council is set to issue a supporting resolution to be voted on no later than June 17. The holiday will be recognized as a City holiday on June 19 every year. Should the 19th fall on a Saturday, the holiday will be observed on the preceding Friday, and if it falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on the following Monday.
“We need every Angeleno to learn the full story of our past, no matter the ugliness of some of its chapters—and that means recognizing the lasting legacy of slavery in our country,” said Garcetti. “While we can’t dislodge structural racism overnight, it’s our responsibility as a city to acknowledge hard truths and advance reforms, and by declaring Juneteenth an official holiday, we’re making it clear that the ending of slavery should be remembered as a watershed moment in American history.”
Juneteenth is commemorated on the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger issued an order proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas, which was the last state of the Confederacy with legalized slavery. On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to designate June 19 as a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
“Juneteenth is an important day for our country – a reminder of the racism, discrimination, and social injustices that persist more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery,” said Council President Nury Martinez. “Beyond recognizing this day as a holiday and giving Angelenos the space to reflect, it’s about action and focusing on the work that still needs to be done.”
“As an ethnically diverse city, we take pride in recognizing the rich histories of all our cultures. For decades and within the Black community, Juneteenth has been a day full of celebrations and recounting stories of how far the community has come,” said City Councilmember Paul Koretz. “While acknowledging how much more is to be done, it brings me great pride to officially recognize this holiday in the City of Los Angeles and the countless contributions of Black Angelenos.”