E X E C U T I V E O R D E R
DECLARING JUNETEENTH A HOLIDAY FOR NEW YORK STATE EMPLOYEES
WHEREAS, the news of liberation of slaves came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863; African Americans across the state were made aware of their right to freedom on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with federal troops to read General Order No. 3 announcing the end of the Civil War and that all enslaved people were now free, as well as to maintain a presence in Texas for the purpose of enforcement of emancipation among slave-owners throughout the state; and
WHEREAS, the Empire State has a tradition of acknowledging significant milestones in advancing the cause of freedom, and New Yorkers, some of whom descend directly from those brave men and women that gained freedom on that day, join in celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, an observance that commemorates the official announcement made in the State of Texas regarding the abolition of slavery and the freeing of some quarter-million African Americans; and
WHEREAS, the observance of Juneteenth honors the history, perseverance, and achievements 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; and
WHEREAS, this observance is a reminder of the hardships and losses suffered by African Americans in their struggle to attain freedom, and we pay tribute to the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in this quest; through their experiences and those of others who were successful in achieving victory, we find among the most poignant and valuable lessons of humankind that continue to resonate with people of all backgrounds; and
WHEREAS, the official emancipation of African Americans throughout the United States literally and figuratively opened doors of opportunity that enabled following generations to contribute immeasurably to our nation’s richness, equality of citizens, and global leadership, and today communities across our state – from Brooklyn to Buffalo – mark the anniversary of Juneteenth with appropriate commemoration; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting that all New Yorkers join to commemorate such an important day in our nation’s history, as we take this opportunity to reflect upon and rejoice in the freedom and civil rights that we all share as Americans;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the Constitution of the State of New York, specifically Article IV, section one, and the laws of the state of New York do hereby recognize June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth, which shall be a holiday for state employees, who if not required to work, shall be entitled to leave at full pay without charge to existing accruals and for those employees who are required to work, they shall receive one day of compensatory time.
G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this seventeenth day of June in the year two thousand twenty.
BY THE GOVERNOR
Secretary to the Governor