New York City – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announed that landmarks across the state would be lit red, black and green on June 19 in celebration of Juneteenth. Additionally, Governor Cuomo issued a proclamation naming June 19 Juneteenth in the State of New York.
New York State landmarks will be lit red, black and green in celebration of Juneteenth,
“New York is proud to join the entire country in our first national commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The state lit the following landmarks:
- One World Trade Center
- Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
- Kosciuszko Bridge
- The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
- State Education Building
- Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
- State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
- Grand Central Terminal – Pershing Square Viaduct
- Niagara Falls
- Albany International Airport Gateway
- MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
Juneteenth celebrates the day when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
Finally it only took 156 years, but Juneteenth has now become the nation’s 11th federal public holiday, following congressional passage of a measure that formally recognises a day that commemorates the end of slavery and emancipation of African Americans in the US.
Democratic US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas has led recent efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday, adding to the list of federal holidays for the first time since the addition of Martin Luther King Jr Day in 1983. The measure was co-sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn, a Republican. Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who blocked its passage in 2020, lifted his opposition in 2021.
On 13 June, the US Senate unanimously approved the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a legal public holiday. The House of Representatives has passed a milestone measure to create a federal holiday for Juneteenth, and headed to President Joe Biden for his signature.
Biden officially signed a bill establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, Thursday, June 17th. Since June 19th fell on a Saturday, the government observed the holiday Friday, June 18th. At least nine states have designated it in law as an official paid state holiday, all but one doing so after the summary execution of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis.
“New York is proud to join the entire country in our first national commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans,” Gov. Cuomo said. “While Juneteenth may be our newest federal holiday, the ethos we observe today – that independence, equality, and liberty for all are only guaranteed when we march as one towards those ideals; that the arc of the moral universe only bends towards justice when we work together to bend it – has always been the foundation of our national identity. I was proud to make this a state holiday last year because New York has always, and will always, stand with and support all those working to help our country live up to its founding ideals. Our thoughts are with all those who worked so hard and for so long to bring today’s national celebration to fruition.”