Making Juneteenth a holiday would give DeKalb County employees a day off each July 19. The commissioner said the county can “combat racism with acknowledgement of the often neglected but important history” surrounding the end of slavery.
The holiday took on greater significance this year, amid a national reckoning over race, racism and police violence. Several corporations treated Juneteenth as a company holiday.
Juneteenth has not been designated as a federal holiday. Most states have commemorated Juneteenth as an official or ceremonial holiday in some way. In 2011, Georgia became the 37th state to recognize Juneteenth, though it is not an official state holiday. This year, the governors of Virginia and New York signed orders making Juneteenth a paid day off for state employees.
This year, Marietta and Doraville both formally recognized Juneteenth for its historical significance, but did not vote to make it a municipal holiday.
Johnson said DeKalb, which is majority Black, can “lead the way” in making Juneteenth a holiday.
Officials in South Fulton recently voted to make Juneteenth a city holiday, the city announced Tuesday.
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