LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin the process of making Juneteenth an official city holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.
“For myself and nearly a half million Black Angelenos that call L.A. home, we understand the significance and we recognize the value and the cultural impact that Juneteenth has,” Councilman Curren Price said.
Price, along with fellow councilmen Herb Wesson, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson filed the original motion to establish the day as a city holiday.
Price said his desire to commemorate and celebrate the historical significance of Juneteenth was heightened by recent demonstrations demanding racial justice across the country and protesting the killings of Black Americans at the hands of police.
“I did not learn about Juneteenth formally in school,” Price said. “This is a moment to honor our ancestors who were separated, subjected to harsh and inhumane treatment, as they were forced to perform backbreaking labor, deprived of an education and were subjected to countless acts of violence against them.”
Juneteenth is not an official federal holiday. However, on June 19 of this year, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution seeking to make it a federal holiday.
The day acknowledges the end of slavery in the United States by commemorating June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas were finally informed of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipating Proclamation — two years after it was issued.
L.A. City staff is expected to devise recommendations are report back to the council with more information about establishing June 19 as an official holiday.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)