SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — All city employees will receive Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year.
On Monday the San Diego City Council unanimously approved Mayor Todd Gloria's recommendation to make Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, a paid day off.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 ― two years after the Emancipation Proclamation ― when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free the last enslaved African-Americans. It became a federal and state holiday in 2021.
“The ending of slavery is a pivotal moment that should be honored and celebrated. I encourage San Diegans to set aside time on Juneteenth to reflect on our country’s history, including the parts that are painful, and to help us work towards designing a more equitable future without systemic racism,” said Mayor Gloria.
Juneteenth falls on a Monday this year, meaning the holiday will give city employees a three-day weekend.
Alongside Mayor Gloria, Council President pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and Councilmember Vivian Moreno were the chief proponents of making Juneteenth a paid holiday, initiating the process in 2021.
“By honoring Juneteenth in our City, we choose to recognize the insidious history of our country and the sacrifices to achieve freedom for Black Americans,” said Montgomery Steppe, who represents Council District 4. "Today, our City made positive strides to realize the fight for true freedom among Black San Diegans.”
For the first time ever in 2020, a Juneteenth flag was hung commemorating Juneteenth at City Hall. In 2021, the flag was raised outside of the City Hall building for the first time ever.
President Joe Biden signed Senate Bill 475 on June 17, 2021, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1655 on September 29, 2022, establishing it as a state holiday.