Sunday is Juneteenth: Feds, State & City Governments Close Monday
Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday last year. It kind of slipped under the radar. This is year number two federally and it again is sort of on the Q.T. Or is it just me?
And not just because it falls on a Sunday this year. Juneteenth is June 19th.
In 2011, then-Governor LePage signed a law recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday observance. Last year Governor Mills signed the bill designating June 19th a state holiday.
Juneteenth actually originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Yes, that long ago. Texas was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery, and freedom for enslaved people in Texas was proclaimed on that day. It has been celebrated in Texas, and in various parts of the country since then.
Celebrations include readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs like Lift Every Voice and Sing and Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot, and readings of works by noted African American writers.
Since Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, the federal holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20. As a result, government buildings will be closed on Monday.
So Federal buildings will observe the day by closing, as will numerous state and local government operations. City Hall's closed for example. But locally trash will be collected. Stores will be open. Non-government employees will go to work.
But it is still Juneteenth, and at the very least the day should get us to take a few moments to understand why it is observed and respect what the day stands for.