New Paid Holiday Introduced

( A city in Alabama is now going to celebrate Juneteenth by recognizing it as a paid holiday.

Recently, all seven members of the Prattville City Council voted to approve Juneteenth as a paid holiday. The day recognized when slaves were officially emancipated.

The only black member of that city council, Marcus Jackson, was the champion of the campaign to add the historic day to the city’s holiday schedule. In July, Jackson had asked Prattville’s mayor to officially recognize the holiday, but the mayor said it was the duty of the city council to do so.

Following the unanimous vote, Jackson commented:

“It’s a good day in Prattville. I’m very appreciative that the City Council passed the resolution unanimously. Having the paid holiday is important because it marks a day when a large group of Americans learned about their freedom … We still have to work on our efforts to ensure diversity and inclusivity. Having this paid holiday can help keep a spotlight on those efforts.”

Juneteenth commemorates the day that federal troops went into Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all slaves had definitely been freed. The day occurred on June 19 of 1865.

In recent months, Juneteenth has gotten much more attention, especially following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer.

In fact, on June 17 of this year, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth to be a new federal holiday. In the time since then, many local governments also declared the day a holiday in their local jurisdiction.

In issuing the proclamation, Biden said:

“Juneteenth is a day of profound weight and power. A day in which we remember the moral stain and terrible toll of slavery on our country — what I’ve long called America’s original sin. A long legacy of systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity.

“But it is a day that also reminds us of our incredible capacity to heal, hope, and emerge from our darkest moments with purpose and resolve.”

The state of Alabama had already made Juneteenth a state holiday, but this move by the Prattville City Council ensures that it’s also a paid holiday for the city’s workers.

There has been much support for recognizing Juneteenth in this way across the country. However, there are some people who are opposed to it.

One of those people is Representative Ralph Norman from South Carolina, who was one of 14 members of the House who opposed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.

When the vote came to the House floor, Norman called it “an easy no vote.” In a statement, he explained:

“First of all, our Independence Day is July 4th. Period. Independence Day celebrates the anniversary of our declared independence from Great Britain, and it’s been that way for 245 years.

“If you want to call Juneteenth, for example, Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, then fine. That’s certainly worth considering. But calling it Independence Day is WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE.”

Norman, then, isn’t opposed to celebrating Juneteenth, according to his statement. He’s only opposed to referring to it as Independence Day in any shape or form.