On June 17, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared Juneteenth a State Holiday for NY Employees, requiring a paid day off for employees who are not required to work and compensatory pay for those who are required to work
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On June 17, 2020, ahead of the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 204 making Juneteenth an official holiday for NY state employees.
Juneteenth, which has been long recognized and celebrated in many African-American communities, commemorates the official announcement of the abolition of slavery made on June 19, 1865 in the State of Texas. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect. It abolished slavery and freed more than 3.5 million African Americans in the Confederate States. Word of this emancipation didn’t reach Texas until two years later. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and read federal orders stating that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. This resulted in the freedom of some quarter-million African Americans in the State of Texas.
The Order signed by Governor Cuomo states that New Yorkers have a tradition of “acknowledging significant milestones in advancing the cause of freedom” and wanted New Yorkers to join in celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. It also notes that “Juneteenth” honors the history, perseverance, and achievement of African Americans, and celebrates America’s progress and continuing commitment to realizing the principles of liberty and equality upon which our nation was founded.”
Order No. 204 signed by Governor Cuomo recognizes June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth, a holiday for state employees. It provides that state employees who are not required to work shall be entitled to leave at full pay and those employees who are required to work shall receive one day of compensatory time.
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LaToya Blakely is an attorney, actress and host dedicated to making a difference and serving the underserved. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. You can follow her on Instagram @latoya.blakely and Twitter @BlakelyLaToya.
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