Mayor Lyda Krewson today signed a proclamation officially designating June 19, 2020, and every June 19 hereafter, as “Juneteenth Day” in the City of St. Louis.
“Juneteenth originally celebrated the dismantling of American slavery. Today, it highlights the continued struggle to dismantle the symbols of systemic racism. Recent events have shown us that we still have work to do to fulfill the hope of Juneteenth and ensure we all enjoy the same freedoms,” said Mayor Krewson.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States after the Union Forces won the Civil War and Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
Black communities through the country learned of the surrender during various days in 1865 with some of the most notable celebrations taking place June 19, thus creating the name “Juneteenth African Freedom Day Celebration.”
“The City of St. Louis recognizes this important holiday as an opportunity for the City to educate residents about African American heritage and honor their lives, sacrifices, and many contributions to this country. Citywide recognition of this day will provide an opportunity to unify all St. Louisans against racism,” Mayor Krewson added.
Additionally, Mayor Krewson has requested the City’s Director of Personnel to begin the formal process of establishing Juneteenth as a recognized holiday for the City of St. Louis beginning in the Fiscal Year 2021 and a paid holiday for the employees of the City beginning June 19, 2021.