On Monday, October 11, the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County announced both organizations will be adding Juneteenth as an official holiday beginning in June 2022.
Last June, President Joe Biden created the new federal holiday, which applies to federal employees. Mayor G.T. Bynum recently approved the additional holiday to the City holiday schedule and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the holiday for the County schedule in their regularly scheduled board meeting this morning.
“Juneteenth is an important day in our country’s history, and I’m glad we are able to celebrate freedom for all Americans in this way by joining Tulsa County in adding Juneteenth to our official holiday schedule,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I’m thankful that our employees at the City will have the opportunity to appropriately observe Juneteenth in the years ahead.”
Juneteenth will serve as an additional holiday in both the City and County holiday schedules, which serves as a paid holiday for City and County employees, including the Tulsa County District Court system.
“I am so pleased that we could come together as the Board of County Commissioners to give Juneteenth the honor it deserves,” Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said. “This is a very important day in our history and it’s only right that we ensure that our employees and citizens understand how seriously we feel about it. I am also thrilled that the City of Tulsa is formally acknowledging the importance of Juneteenth—having both of us make Juneteenth a holiday shows just how truly important it is to celebrate and commemorate what this day stands for.”
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States when on June 19, 1865, two and half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and the state’s residents learned that slavery had been abolished.
“I am very pleased that the Board of County Commissioners approved Juneteenth as a paid holiday, which allows the District Courts to fully honor Juneteenth and close the Courthouse,” Presiding Tulsa County District Judge William LaFortune said. “Juneteenth is an important time to stop and commemorate the end of slavery in our country and I am thrilled that I was able to sign my name with the BOCC to make this happen. All Tulsa County District Court employees and those associated with the Courts will now be able to rightfully honor one of the most important days in our country’s history.”