Fort Worth Becomes City to Make Juneteenth a Paid Holiday

A couple months ago, Congress made the decision to make June 19 a federal holiday, which would be recognized as Juneteenth National Independence Day. Now Forth Worth, Texas has decided to make the holiday one day benefits. Starting in next year, approx. 7,000 city workers in Forth Worth will receive paid time off on Juneteenth. On Tuesday August 10, the City Council unanimously approved the resolution-making June 19 a paid day off.

Opal Lee civic leader and retired educator has been a huge role in bringing national attention to the importance of the day.

“I just want to say thank you. … And just know that we’ve got [more] work to do,” Lee told the council during its meeting on the matter. “I want the city to realize that what we’re doing is not a me thing. It’s a we thing.” The 94-year-old championed elected leaders to work together on several issues, including racial disparity, unemployment, and homelessness.

Before the decision Councilwoman Gyna Bivens held up a book and addressed the longtime civic leader. In her hand was Charles A. Taylor’s “Juneteenth: A Celebration of.” “I just wanted to show you something that you were taking around the city probably a decade ago … educating the public about Juneteenth,” Bivens said while speaking to Lee. In June, Lee attended President Biden’s signing ceremony for the new Juneteenth federal holiday.

Fort Worth becomes the latest city to offer workers the day as a paid holiday, joining Kansas City, Missouri, Wilmington, Delaware, Springfield, Illinois and others.

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