Joined by community and elected leaders, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an executive order today recognizing Juneteenth as a County holiday. County offices will be closed on Friday, June 18, in observance of the holiday.
“Celebrating Juneteenth as an official County holiday demonstrates our county’s true commitment to freedom and equality – for all,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “The growing national push for observance of Juneteenth is an important step as we move forward toward justice for this community, in light of centuries of racism, discrimination, and inequity.”
The Juneteenth holiday honors June 19, 1865 – the date slaves in Texas were effectively emancipated. While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation three years’ prior officially outlawed slavery, emancipation in Confederate states relied on enforcement by Union soldiers. Texas became the final state to see the Proclamation enforced, an occasion marked by the Juneteenth holiday.
“Juneteenth being a county holiday is one of the many milestones we will celebrate as a black community from this moment forward,” said Annapolis Juneteenth Planning Committee Executive Director Phyllis “Tee” Adams. “A day to honor our ancestors for their fight for freedom, educating our diverse community as we celebrate legacies and accomplishments that will be forever ingrained in history.”
County Executive Pittman’s executive order recognizes the day as a County holiday in 2021. Legislation will be introduced at a later date to make the holiday permanent for the County.
“Thank you County Executive Pittman for your vision and commitment to our County. You have made the citizens of our County more aware of the challenges faced by the African American,” said Jacqueline Allsup, President of the Anne Arundel County NAACP. “Recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday is a historical event.“
“Juneteenth is a perfect example of freedom being a constant struggle, those enslaved individuals showed and preserved the characteristics of resiliency and determination,” said Harold “Mo” Lloyd, President of the Anne Arundel County NAACP’s Youth Division. “That’s why commemorating Juneteenth as an official county holiday is an important step in committing to justice for all.”