L.A. councilman introduces motion to make Juneteenth a legal city holiday

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Curren Price appears with Black Lives Matter protesters in a photo posted on his Facebook page on July 1, 2020.

Curren Price appears with Black Lives Matter protesters in a photo posted on his Facebook page on July 1, 2020.

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A motion introduced by Los Angeles Councilman Curren Price Wednesday seeks to establish Juneteenth as a legal city holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general announced the end of the Civil War in Gavelston, Texas and informed enslaved African Americans of their freedom. In the coming years, celebrations of the anniversary became popular across the U.S., including in Los Angeles.

“For myself and the nearly half a million Black Angelenos that call this City home, we understand its significance, we recognize the value and the cultural impact Juneteenth has on our culture,” Price said in a statement.

The councilman’s proposal comes amid ongoing calls to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, demands fueled by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Price, whose district includes much of South L.A., where he was born and raised, said this is a moment “to raise awareness and share our values and traditions with the world.”

His motion instructs the city’s chief legislative analyst, with help from the Civil and Human Rights Commission and the city administrative officer, to come up with options in making Juneteenth a city holiday.

Price’s office believes it’s the first time such a proposal has been made in L.A.

“Here within the City of Los Angeles nearly half a million Black Angelenos call this City home,” the motion reads. “Their contributions to their communities are endless and vital to this City as they serve in various capacities as they are business owners, inventors, healthcare professionals, and educators. Because of this, it is with great importance that the City honors the historic contributions of Black Angelenos and Americans from the past, present, and future.”

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