Pittsburgh Mayor Introduces Bill To Make 'Juneteenth' Official Holiday

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced his plan to introduce a bill recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday recognized by the city.

Mayor Peduto initially pledged to push for legislation recognizing Juneteenth as an official Pittsburgh holiday while speaking at a Black Voting Rights Forum at St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Lower Hill District last August, WPXI reports.

Juneteenth, also known as "Jubilee Day," "Emancipation Day" or "Freedom Day," is the observance of the ending of slavery in the United States, which dates back to June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and that slaves were free.

“Juneteenth reminds us of the rich history of Black Pittsburgh and celebrates those who worked hard so that Black people’s voices could be heard through voting,” Peduto has previously stated via WPXI.

The legislation is set to be formally introduced Tuesday (February 2) during the Pittsburgh City Council's Standing Committees meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 10.

“Throughout history, many have tried to silence Black voices. We have arrived in a critical time where they are finally getting the attention that they deserve – and they are being heard. Many of us, particularly privileged white men, have not always listened as much as we should have. The time is now to make that change permanent, and formally set aside this holiday to celebrate Black voices,” Peduto said in a news release obtained by WPXI.

Juneteenth is recognized as the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This year's Emancipation Day will be held on Friday, June 18, since June 19th falls on a Saturday.

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