Vail Place closed Friday, June 18 in observance of Juneteenth

Vail Place closed Friday, June 18 in observance of Juneteenth

Vail Place will be closed this Friday, June 18, 2021 in observance of Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19. Vail Place acknowledges Juneteenth as a holiday for employees.  Vail Place is encouraging employees to consider it an opportunity to help build racial equity in our communities. Whether it’s volunteering at an African-American-owned nonprofit, attending a festival or educational event, or even reflecting with family and friends, we can all find ways to celebrate freedom and the African-American community.  Despite not being recognized as a Federal holiday at this time, agency leadership continues to believe it is important to recognize this moment in our nation’s history.  Providing the additional paid holiday is one way we can do this, while also demonstrating the agency’s commitment to the continuing work of pursuing racial justice.

What is Juneteeth?  

When President Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, the legal status of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans changed from slave to free. With the ending of the war, the proclamation was brought into effect throughout the former Confederacy. But this took time, and there was still resistance to the proclamation. Two and a half years later, on June 19th, 1965, African slaves in Galveston, TX learned after the fact that they were free.

Since then, this day has been commemorated as Juneteenth. Juneteenth is observed locally and nationally as a day of reflection, empowerment, and preparation for future challenges. Using historical and culturally specific information to ensure a better future for African American individuals, families, and communities is a key aim of Juneteenth programs and activities.  Some states have recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday, and there have been efforts to enact it as a federal holiday.

What is the purpose of making this a paid holiday?  

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and other African-Americans and People of Color (POC), many of us have felt discouraged. There is a spotlight on the injustices, but systemic change remains slow. These times call for greater action and awareness to support and celebrate the African-American community. As the late Senator Paul Wellstone said, “we all do better when we all do better.”