Tamarac Commissioner Mike Gelin Sponsors Ordinance to Acknowledge & Celebrate Juneteenth

Commissioner Mike Gelin
Commissioner Mike Gelin
The City of Tamarac has a new holiday it will celebrate after October 28th vote

[Tamarac] The City of Tamarac will now celebrate Juneteenth as an official city holiday after the October 28, 2020 Commission vote.

“This is an important day,” Commissioner Gelin said. It was his idea to make Juneteenth an official holiday in the city. “Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for those that helped to build this country and a testament to the sacrifices and long struggle for equality in America,” he continued.

Juneteenth, short for June 19th, is an important day to remember in America’s history.

In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million enslaved people living in the Confederate states to be free.

However, more than two years would pass before the news reached African-Americans living in Texas. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that the state’s residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished.

Today, about 46 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday. Texas was the first state to make it a paid holiday in 1980, and in October, New York and Virginia joined the list.

Locally, Tamarac is the second city to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday in Broward County, as Deerfield Beach voted to make it a holiday only a few weeks earlier. On October 20th, Miami-Dade made Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees.

Al Edwards, a civil rights activist and former Houston legislator who helped Texas become the first state in the country to make the abolition of slavery an official holiday, died in April this year at 83. He is quoted as saying, “Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That’s why we need this holiday.”

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