Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay

Urban News Staff Reports

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced  in an executive order that beginning June 19, 2020, and every year thereafter, “Juneteenth” will be a day of remembrance and education for all Newark municipal employees, including teach-ins and workshops.
 City employees will attend a Virtual Teach-In focused on the significance of “Juneteenth” in American history. The Virtual Teach-In speakers will include Mayor Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, City Historian Junius Williams, and Dr. Melissa L. Cooper; preceded by discussions with Department Directors and their staff. The citywide learning and education for employees will cover the holiday itself, racism, issues of inequality in America, and the fight for justice and equality.
“’Juneteenth’ is one of the most important days in American history and it has never been made more significant than by the recent racism evidenced across the country. In Newark, we will use this Day On (not off), to learn, observe, honor and respect the day that defined freedom for millions and ended chattel slavery in the United States,” Baraka said.
The executive order states that the City will:
  1. Annually recognize June 19 as Juneteenth.
  2. Annually commemorate Juneteenth as a day of learning to educate people on African American History.
  3. Every Juneteenth, all City Departments are required to hold training sessions, signifying the importance of Juneteenth, on issues important to the African American community.
  4. The Juneteenth training and education shall be a day to focus on the history of inequality in the United States, African Americans’ fight for equality, and strategies to eliminate racism.
  5. This Order shall take effect immediately.
“Juneteenth” commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger read federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, declaring all slaves in that former Confederate state to be free. Since then, freemen in Texas and other states began celebrating “Juneteenth” every year and brought festivities with them as they migrated across the nation. The 2020 celebrations across the country include lectures, exhibitions, picnics, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, and family reunions. Due to this year’s COVID-19 issues, many of these events have been scaled back or are being held “virtually.”

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