The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to initiate the process of making Juneteenth an official city holiday to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.
Councilmen Curren Price, Herb Wesson and Marqueece Harris-Dawson filed the initial motion to have the city holiday established.
“For myself and nearly a half million Black Angelenos that call L.A. home, we understand the significance and we recognize the value and the cultural impact that Juneteenth has,” Price said.
Price said recent demonstrations to demand racial equity and justice in the country and to protest the killings of Black Americans at the hands of police heightened his desire to commemorate, celebrate and acknowledge the historical significance of Juneteenth.
“I did not learn about Juneteenth formally in school,” Price said. “This is a moment to honor our ancestors who were separated, subjected to harsh and inhumane treatment, as they were forced to perform backbreaking labor, deprived of an education and were subjected to countless acts of violence against them.”
Juneteenth is not recognized as an official federal holiday, although on June 19 of this year the U.S. Senate passed a resolution seeking to make it a federal holiday.
Juneteenth is the commemoration of the end of slavery specifically on June 19, 1865, in Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Enforcement of President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops.
City staff will come up with recommendations and report back to the City Council with additional information on establishing Juneteenth as an official holiday.