According to the Associated Press, Nashville mayor John Cooper has stated he plans to sign an executive order on Thursday to make Juneteenth an official paid holiday for city employees. An effort to recognize Juneteeth a statewide holiday in Tennessee, stalled after a House panel took the bill “off notice.” Gov. Bill Lee set aside funds for the measure in his proposed spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
Mayor Cooper’s signed executive order will extend the holiday to all Metro employees, including non-civil service status employees. In recent days, states such as Colorado and New York have also taken steps to make Juneteeth a paid holiday.
Senate Bill 139 passed in Colorado with bipartisan support, both in the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate. Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, Aurora Democrat Sen. Janet Buckner, and Denver Democrat Sen. James Coleman led the bill.
From NBC 9 News:
“This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “We have to reckon with our very tough past of slavery and what this country was built upon. But we also have to honor the freedoms that have come and the liberation that is here.”
For New York, the Juneteeth holiday will be designated through a personnel order issued by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said Jonah Allon, a City Hall spokesman. Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to make Juneteenth an official holiday for state workers last year. Now, city workers will be able to observe the day without using paid time off.
“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 the mayor in the Monday morning press release. “It’s time for our city to finally do what’s right and officially designate Juneteenth as a city holiday.”