Mayor John Cooper announced Friday he has submitted legislation to the Metro Council that would make “Juneteenth National Independence Day” a paid day off for city workers.
“I submitted this request to the Civil Service Commission for their consideration and with their approval, I will sign an executive order for Metro Government to celebrate Juneteenth as a paid holiday beginning in 2022,” said Mayor Cooper. “Adding Juneteenth as a Metro holiday is consistent with the Federal Government’s addition of Juneteenth to the list of Federal holidays this year.”
Juneteenth celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to free the slaves two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It is considered to be the longest-running African American Holiday.
The statement said that if Juneteenth falls on a Sunday, the holiday will be observed the following Monday. If it falls on a Saturday, the holiday will be observed the previous Friday. A supplemental budget request of $1.5 million was also submitted for creating the paid holiday, but the statement did not include where the increase in budget would come from.
Cooper tweeted his thanks to Metro Nashville Council member Tanaka Vercher, and Council Member At-Large Sharon Hurt for their contributions to the effort.
My statement regarding Juneteenth as a paid Metro holiday. Thank you Council Member At-Large Sharon Hurt and Council Member Tanaka Vercher for leading previous resolutions to make Juneteenth a Metro holiday.
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) December 17, 2021
Vercher said, “Juneteenth is a special day for the Black community. By making Juneteenth a Metro holiday, we are paying homage to our ancestors and creating space to reflect on the legacy of slavery and racism in America.”
Hurt said, “I am delighted that Nashville has joined the ranks of other major cities in recognizing the significance of Juneteenth and celebrating emancipation by making Juneteenth a paid Metro holiday.”
The Tennessee Star reported earlier this year that the Senate passed a bill to make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday. The measure was sponsored by Ed Markey (D- MA) and was passed unanimously, after a brief objection by Ron Johnson (R-WI).
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