It’s official — Juneteenth is now an annual state holiday in Massachusetts.
Juneteenth Independence Day, on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the anniversary of Union soldiers arriving in Galveston, Texas in 1865 — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation — to tell enslaved people the Civil War was over and they were free.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a supplemental budget bill on Friday that included the establishment of Juneteenth Independence Day as an annual state holiday “in order to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality.”
Today I signed a supplemental budget bill that authorizes #COVID19MA spending and also establishes #Juneteenth Independence Day as an annual state holiday on June 19 in order to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality.
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) July 24, 2020
According to the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Juneteenth holiday for Massachusetts was created under the same category as Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day. The statute doesn’t address state employee working hours or compensation for those holidays.
The push to establish Juneteenth as an official holiday gained renewed attention this year with national protests demanding action to address systemic racism and police violence following the death of George Floyd.