SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved making Juneteenth, which honors the end of slavery in the United States, a paid holiday for county employees.
“This historic vote recognizes the legacy of injustice to people of color and the work that still remains to ensure that freedom exists for all,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, who introduced the proposal.
With Tuesday’s vote, Santa Clara becomes the first county in California to declare Juneteenth, shorthand for June 19th, a paid holiday.
On June 19th, 1865, after the end of the Civil War, Major General Gordon Granger told slaves in Galveston, Texas that the war was over and they were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Forty-seven states, including California, along with the District of Columbia, recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday or observance.
A growing number of companies and organizations are also observing Juneteenth, amid a new push to end racism following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and nationwide protests against police brutality.
“Designating Juneteenth as a holiday in Santa Clara County is especially significant in the wake of protests over systemic racism here and across the nation,” Cortese said.