Santa Clara County First in California to Make Juneteenth an Official Holiday

Graphic for Juneteenth of a woman with an American flag over her shoulders

Santa Clara County supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to declare Juneteenth an official county holiday, a first among California counties, according to a news release.

Starting June 19, 2021, Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for county employees to recognize the end of slavery in the U.S., the county said.

Supervisor Dave Cortese made the initial proposal.

"Designating Juneteenth as a holiday in Santa Clara County is especially significant in the wake of protests over systemic racism here and across the nation," Cortese said in a statement. "This historic vote recognizes the legacy of injustice to people of color and the work that still remains to ensure that freedom exists for all."

In August, the board voted to allocate $2.3 million to be put into a reserve to fund declaring Juneteenth as a county holiday. Tuesday’s vote made it official.

Juneteenth gets its name from the combination of June and Nineteenth and is celebrated annually on June 19. It’s also called Emancipation Day and Freedom Day.

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