Juneteenth is now officially recognized in New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 14 signed legislation that designates June 19 as a public holiday.
Rev. Lewis Stewart, president of United Christian Leadership Ministry, said at an unrelated news conference Oct. 15 that the designation was long overdue. “It needs to be done at the federal level,” he said.
On June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, news of liberation reached Texas when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read the order announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved were now free.
In signing the legislation, Cuomo said the Juneteenth holiday “will serve as a day to recognize the achievements of the Black community, while also providing an important opportunity for self-reflection on the systemic injustices that our society still faces today.”
In a news release announcing the Juneteenth holiday, state Sen. Kevin Parker said, “Finally, we are beginning to acknowledge the historic oppression and injustices that African-Americans have endured. This holiday is a first step in reconciliation and healing that our great state needs in order to ensure equity for all people. Thank you Governor for your support and advocacy.”
Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman said, “Juneteenth serves as a piece of history towards Black liberation in this country. I am glad to serve along with my colleagues in government and Gov. Cuomo, as a part of ensuring these important parts of Black American history will continued to be told in our great state of New York.”