ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s governor signed an executive order Wednesday recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will propose legislation next year making June 19 a permanent state holiday.READ MORE: 28-Year-Old Man Burned When Gas Explosion Blows Out Garage At Perth Amboy Home
“I don’t think it has been recognized for the importance that it denotes, and that’s why I’m going to propose legislation to make it an official holiday next year. And that’s why this year I’m doing what I can. What I can do is by executive order. Make it a state holiday for employees and that’s what I’m doing,” Cuomo said.
GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS
- CBS2’s Maurice DuBois, Documentary Filmmaker Marshall Curry Discuss Where The Conversation About Race Goes From Here
- Public Advocate Jumaane Williams On What’s Next With Race In America
- Having The Difficult But Important Conversation About Race
- How To Be A Part Of Making Change Beyond Protesting
- Schomburg Center Releases ‘Black Liberation Reading List’
- Child Psychologist On Talking About Race & Activism
- Complete CBS2 Coverage
- More From Minneapolis
Several states already observe Juneteenth. Texas was the first to make it a state holiday, in 1980. Virginia’s governor proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday there earlier this week.
Watch: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Daily Briefing
“Why not live and learn, right? Society progresses, we change, we evolve. Hopefully we change for the better,” Cuomo said. “But I think this is a period where we’re going, we could see, we could see monumental change. And I want to be a force for change. And I want to help synergize this moment, whether it’s reform on the police department, whether it’s an expanded racial understanding and sensitivity and progress. And if Juneteenth is part of that.”
President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in Confederate territory on Sept. 22, 1862, but the news took time to travel.
June 19, 1865, is the date when word of the proclamation reached African Americans in Texas.MORE NEWS: Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Paul Simon And More: Full Lineup Revealed For 'We Love New York City: The Homecoming Concert' In Central Park
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)