Juneteenth is now a paid holiday for NYC workers

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who was working remotely due to a COVID diagnosis, officially designated Juneteenth a paid city holiday.

The federal holiday was first recognized on June 17, 2021.  Monday's announcement marked a first in city history.

"Juneteenth is a time for reflection, assessment, and self-improvement. People across the country of all races, nationalities, and religions unite on this day to truthfully acknowledge the stain of slavery and celebrate the countless contributions of Black Americans," said Adams in a prepared statement. "It’s time for our city to finally do what’s right and officially designate Juneteenth as a city holiday. This decision is long overdue, which is why it will immediately take effect this year."

Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19 and commemorates when Union General Gordon Granger informed people in Texas in 1865 that all previously enslaved people in the state were free, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

"Holding a mirror to our nation’s past atrocities is never easy, but it is necessary," continued the mayor.

Junettenth is widely considered the longest-running African American holiday.  

It is also a paid holiday for state employees in New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday in 1979.

Last year, New York City commemorated Juneteenth with the unveiling of a six-foot statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn, whose death at the hands of police in Minnesota sparked protests and a nationwide reckoning with race.