Gov. Murphy Signs Legislation Designating Juneteenth as State, Public Holiday

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Assignment Editor

Photo: Jon Bradley | Follow South Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation last week that will designate Juneteenth as an official state holiday.

Gov. Murphy signed the legislation during a guest appearance on Instagram live with SZA — a singer, rapper, and songwriter best known for hit album Ctrl.

“It gives me great pride to celebrate emancipation and New Jersey’s great diversity by designating Juneteenth as an official State holiday.” Murphy said in a press release. “Commemorating this date is just one component of our collective approach to end a generational cycle of pain and injustice that has gone on for far too long. Every Juneteenth, we will celebrate the end of the physical chains which once held Black Americans down.

Juneteenth will be celebrated on the third Friday of June in New Jersey. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, which is the day that Union General Gordon Granger went to Galveston, Texas to inform slaves about the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and their new freedom.

As Gov. Murphy noted on Instagram live, many states acknowledge Juneteenth without recognizing it as an official holiday. Only Texas and Virginia celebrate it as an official paid holiday, according to WHSV-TV in Virginia. A number of major American corporations — including Nike, Spotify, and Uber — made Juneteenth a paid day off this year. Earlier this summer, many called for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday amid protests in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

“While more work lies ahead to undo the oppression that remains, Juneteenth is important marker that reminds us of our mission to create a society that enables our Black communities to achieve the full equality which they deserve,” Gov. Murphy continued.

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