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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

Juneteenth 2022 - a Day to Celebrate Freedom...and a Holiday Negotiated by Our Union!

On Sunday, June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate this day in 1865 when slaves were read federal orders freeing them under the terms of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

In 2021 after contentious negotiations with County management, AFSCME Local 685 - together with the Coalition of County Unions - reached agreement to make Juneteenth a paid County holiday. (If June 19 falls on a weekend, then the following Monday - June 20, this year - is the paid County holiday.)

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors, in commemoration of Juneteenth, has instructed all County departments – including the Sheriff, District Attorney, Assessor, and Superintendent of Schools of the L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE) – to work with the County Librarian and directors of the L.A. County Museum of Art and Parks and Recreation to promote their Juneteenth-related events, programs, and resources, including on their respective websites and social media platforms. Further, the Board encourages County residents to attend Juneteenth celebrations happening throughout the County.

Juneteenth Celebration: A Brief History

Juneteenth, a holiday first commemorated in Texas, marks the date in 1865 when slaves were read federal orders freeing them under the terms of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

The celebration takes its name from “June” plus “nineteenth,” and marks the June 19th day when Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free. He read from General Order Number 3 which began:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

Known as Emancipation Day or Black Independence Day in some circles, this holiday was recognized in 2006 by the state of Ohio and is now officially observed in 47 of our 50 states.

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