States Celebrate Juneteenth – Some Even Offer Paid Holidays

The word "Juneteenth" on the Pan-African flag
Via Pixabay
Shiavon Chatman
May 16, 2021

Juneteenth, which recognizes Black liberation from enslavement, has been celebrated for over 150 years. But with racial injustice broadcasted more than ever in the past year, some cities, states, and companies have recently acted on activist pressure to do more than just wish us a “Happy Juneteenth!” Is yours one of them?

After being criticized for “performative activism,” some companies announced that Juneteenth will be a paid holiday. They range from big names like Nike to smaller ones like HireClub. Black employees can finally get the time off they deserve! But they’re not the only ones trying to do better.

Miami, FL and Memphis, TN are the latest cities to announce Juneteenth as a paid holiday for city or county employees. Other cities that have also done so include Minneapolis, MN and Florence, SC.

49 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., recognize Juneteenth – but only Texas, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania make it an official paid holiday for state employees. Hawaii is JUST NOW signing a bill to recognize it – and South Dakota doesn’t recognize it at all.

If you’re not offered the paid holiday, contact your congresspeople, supervisor, or city council! To be compensated for a day without work is a cosmic, full circle moment. On Juneteenth we should be able to celebrate with rest! Lord knows we deserve it.

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