Juneteenth National Independence Day - Federal Holiday
June 19, or Juneteenth, is now a Federal Holiday, Juneteenth National Independence Day. All APRC and City offices will be closed, and most staff will be off work on Friday, June 18, to observe this new holiday. The Oak Knoll Golf Course and the Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool will remain open.
The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all enslaved people residing in Confederate controlled states were free on January 1, 1863. However, many enslaved people in Confederate controlled states were not free until June 19, 1865. This day, which is known as Juneteenth, marks the day that Union troops reached Galveston Bay, Texas and announced that the last of the enslaved people under Confederate control were declared free by executive decree. Also in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and abolished slavery for the entire United States. Source: The National Museum of African American History & Culture - The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration remembering the end of slavery in the United States and has been an African American tradition since the late 19th century. Many organizations have helped keep the tradition alive including Ben Haith who founded the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation and created the National Juneteenth Flag that you will see flying on the Plaza and at the Police Station over the Juneteenth weekend. As of 2020, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or observance, including Oregon in 2001. Source: The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation - The History of the Modern Juneteenth Movement.
This year, Ashland is joining in the celebration and helping spread awareness of Juneteenth. You will see Juneteenth flags on the Plaza and near the Police Station along with a banner along over downtown encouraging everyone to celebrate Juneteenth. The Ashland City Council will also be holding a listening booth at the Juneteenth Celebration in Pear Blossom Park in Medford on Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the celebration, go to Southern Oregon BASE’s website. In addition to joining the Juneteenth Celebration this year, the Ashland City Council has passed a Resolution declaring the City of Ashland’s Commitment to Social Equity and Racial Justice and created a Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission. The Commission will provide recommendations and support to the Council, educate the community on policy measures, and practice to foster racial and social equity and respectful intergroup relations.
We hope you and yours will celebrate and learn about Juneteenth!