New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Wednesday declaring Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees.
Cuomo will also advance legislation to make the date, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S., an official state holiday starting next year.
“Friday is Juneteenth — a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States — and it’s a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history,” Cuomo says in a statement. “Although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and we have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities.”
Cuomo adds, “I am going to issue an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees and I’ll propose legislation next year to make it an official state holiday so New Yorkers can use this day to reflect on all the changes we still need to make to create a more fair, just and equal society.”
Cuomo’s decision comes a day after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam similarly announced that he’s proposing legislation to make Juneteenth a permanent paid state holiday.
During a press conference, joined by singer/producer and Virginia native Pharrell Williams, Northam said he would start by giving state workers this Friday off for the holiday.
By Rachel George
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