POLL: Should Juneteenth be a national holiday?
Should Juneteenth be a national holiday?
*Note: this poll will expire on Monday, June 22.
Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition.
Juneteenth celebrations eventually stretched beyond Texas, which was the first state to make it a holiday in 1980, as black people continued the tradition after moving out of state or overseas.
Most states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or day of recognition, like Flag Day. Countries like South Korea, Ghana, Israel, Taiwan, France, and the U.S. territory of Guam also have held Juneteenth celebrations.
Some states, cities and companies now want to go beyond simply acknowledging the day. In Virginia, once home to the capital of the Confederacy, Gov. Ralph Northam moved to make Juneteenth an official holiday, giving executive branch employees a paid day off Friday and proposing legislation to make it a permanent state holiday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo similarly designated Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees and vowed to push legislation next year making it a permanent holiday.
Philadelphia also made Juneteenth a holiday, while Portland, Oregon, and Chicago are considering similar action.
Companies like Nike and Target also took the step. Robinson said it’s hard for people to ignore Juneteenth when giant retailers are bringing it into the mainstream.
“Besides being a wonderful thing, it was just something completely out of the box,” Robinson said. “We’ve been focused on getting a governmental blessing as a holiday. … It never crossed my mind that the corporate world would be the one to make it that way.”