FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2022
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D., Introduces Bill to Recognize
Juneteenth as Paid State Holiday
SACRAMENTO, CA— Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D., (D-La Mesa), is joined by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) in introducing AB 1655, a bill that would recognize “Juneteenth,” or June 19th, as a paid state holiday.
On June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger led troops into Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the insidious institution of slavery. As a result, thousands of enslaved people in Texas were among the last to be informed of their liberation. Today, Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19th to commemorate when American forces declared that enslaved people in Texas were to be freed. The joyous commemorations that began in Texas spread around the nation, with cities and communities in California joining to celebrate this milestone in the American journey to freedom for all.
“It is time that June 19th has the status it deserves in California to honor the significant contributions of Black Americans to our nation and reflect on the long struggle for freedom,” said Assemblymember Weber. “By making Juneteenth an official state holiday, California would demonstrate its commitment to celebrating the emancipation of all slaves.”
Last year, Juneteenth became an official federal holiday to be celebrated by all Americans. In addition, Juneteenth is a paid state holiday in nine states, including Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Oregon, and Illinois. AB 1655 would amend current statutes to include June 19th as an official state holiday for public schools, community colleges, and California State University systems. It would also extend to University of California systems, and grant paid time-off to all state employees.
This is a significant milestone for African Americans, to have a date recognized by our state that is celebrated by all Californians,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “AB 1655 is an inclusive act marking a key point in our nation’s history – one we should never forget or ignore, and one that correctly balances the American scale of freedom from 3/5ths to a whole.”
Juneteenth is an important and special annual celebration for Black culture, resilience, and achievement,” said Assemblymember Weber. “Designating this date as a paid state holiday mirrors the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. I am pleased to join Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer on this legislation that honors the lives, history, and sacrifices to achieve freedom in America.”
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. represents California's 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of Southeast San Diego, Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and National City. Website of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D: www.a79.asmdc.org