City of Tacoma announcement.
The Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance 28794 designating June 19, Juneteenth, as an officially observed holiday in by the City of Tacoma.
City of Tacoma administrative offices will be closed annually in observance of Juneteenth beginning in 2022. The City joins the Federal Government, Washington State Government and several other local jurisdictions in recognizing the importance of Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth commemorates the abolishment of slavery and the contributions of African Americans to society,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “More broadly, this holiday is about the history of our Nation. How and when we pause to reflect on America’s past sends a significant message that is important to every City staff member, every individual in our community, and every resident of the United States.”
Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it was not, until northern soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the proclamation, that the state’s residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished and all slaves were free.
Recognition of “Juneteenth” became a central topic of discussion at the national, state and local levels earlier this year and many communities have begun to recognize the significance of this historical event.
“Recognizing Juneteenth as a paid city holiday supports Resolution 40622 in a visible way and elevates the role of government in the ongoing work of becoming an Anti-Racist Tacoma and provides a platform and opportunity to educate on a critical narrative and milestone of American justice,” Lisa Woods, Chief Equity Officer said in remarks to Council on Tuesday.
Authorization from the City Council by ordinance is required to implement changes to the Tacoma Municipal Code related to holiday pay for City employees. Majority of City staff employees are provided with 10 paid observed holidays each year, plus two floating holidays (totaling 96 hours of paid holiday time) each year.
For more information about the City of Tacoma’s Anti-Racist Transformation work, visit cityoftacoma.org/Transform.