Bay Area Celebrates First Official Juneteenth Holiday

It's the first federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983

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Friday is the first official national holiday for Juneteenth, and the Bay Area is celebrating.

People throughout the region are embracing the holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people after President Joe Biden made it official Thursday. Juneteenth is the 12th federal holiday and the first since the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was created in 1983.

Santa Clara County will celebrate its first Juneteenth as a paid county holiday, the first county in the state to pass a resolution to do so. Supervisors and community leaders were set to gather Friday at the African American Community Service Agency at 11:30 a.m. for a ceremony.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors allocated $2.3 million to be put into a reserve to fund declaring Juneteenth as a county holiday. The proposal inspired by conversations with the community regarding race, equity and systemic change during protests that happened following the death of George Floyd last in May 2020.

The official holiday will be June 19, which is Saturday, and likely will be observed on a Friday or Monday when the date falls on a weekend. This year, Friday wa declared the observed holiday, which means most county offices were closed and most county employees had a paid day off.

President Biden and Vice President Harris signed a bill into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday Thursday, a day celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. NBC Bay Area’s Cheryl Hurd got reaction from a congresswoman who was there and from people attending a gala in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed said the city also will celebrate Juneteenth, but since it’s such short notice, the city would have some staff available for transactions Friday.

The Golden State Warriors also will have a celebration at Chase Center with employees Friday morning.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Oakland and joined Mayor Libby Schaaf in to highlighting the reopening of small businesses, including Black-owned businesses hard hit by the pandemic. The timing offered them a chance to reflect and celebrate the bill signing formally making Juneteenth a federal holiday

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