COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Tuesday, Mayor Steve Benjamin and the Columbia City Council passed on a resolution to declare Juneteenth as a holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the enslaved they were free and the Civil War was over.
“This important moment in the history of our country gives us a tremendous opportunity to properly contextualize the contributions of those that came before us,” said Mayor Benjamin. “Earlier this year, we adopted a new city flag that is based on the value of inclusion. Now, we are taking an important symbolic step to recognize the sacrifices of the enslaved men and women who helped build this city and this nation. Establishing Juneteenth as a city holiday is a way to celebrate the end of one of the darkest periods in human history.”
With the resolution, the holiday becomes an official holiday within city limits. Juneteenth will be observed along with 10 other holidays observed by the City of Columbia every year. On Juneteenth, city offices will be closed and city employees will be given a day off with pay.
The city will begin observing Juneteenth in 2021. Juneteenth will be observed on June 18, 2021, because the holiday falls on a Saturday.