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City Council Passes Resolution Recognizing Juneteenth as an Official Holiday in Albuquerque

Council President Pat Davis and Vice President Diane Gibson sponsored the legislation.

June 18, 2020 

The Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to declare Juneteenth, an annual holiday celebrated on June 19th to commemorate the end of the Civil War and slavery, an official holiday by the Albuquerque City Council. That legislation was passed by the Council during their meeting this week and is being forwarded to Mayor Tim Keller for consideration. If signed by the Mayor, Juneteenth would become an official holiday in every year going forward.

City Councilors Pat Davis and Diane Gibson introduced the resolution to declare the day an official holiday which was unanimously approved by the City Council. The resolution calls for the day to be notated as Juneteenth on any official websites, notices or publications relating to or referencing this day.

The resolution goes on to call on all persons to reflect on the history of African American slavery in the United States and encourages individuals to observe the day by volunteering with, giving recognition to, or otherwise supporting organizations in Albuquerque working to advance equity and social justice for African-American residents of Albuquerque, including those supporting Black Lives Matter movements.

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day, was fist celebrated in 1866 in the State of Texas, and subsequently forty states and the District of Columbia followed to declare Juneteenth an official day of observance.

The recognition comes at a time of heightened scrutiny and indignation regarding injustice and racism towards African Americans in our country both past and present.

“More than 150 years after the final emancipation of slaves, we still have not realized the promise of full equality and equity it promised,” says Councilor Davis.  “At this moment in history we are taking on the challenge to finally rid our systems of vestiges of racism.  Every year going forward, our City will have a date to check ourselves on our progress towards realizing that goal. On Juneteenth, I’ll be joining Black leaders for conversations and actions to move this goal forward and our legislation calls on each resident of our City to do the same.”

“As a white woman, I acknowledge Juneteenth with humility knowing I can never fully appreciate the experiences of those whose families have a history of slavery or who have endured continued racism since then,” says Councilor Gibson. “We have a lot of work to do, but we can use the history of Juneteenth to move forward and fight for the equity of all people of color.”