On Tuesday, June 16th, Governor Ralph Northam announced plans to permanently recognize Juneteenth as a paid state holiday, starting by giving state employees a day off this Friday, June 19th. For a long time Virginia has marked the date with a proclamation but the day had not been previously considered a state holiday. Shortly after the Governor’s announcement, Mayor Levar Stoney announced the City would follow suit. The Richmond Ambulance Authority will be following their lead and beginning this Friday RAA will be recognizing Juneteenth as it would any other paid holiday. This will be the case this year and every year moving forward.
Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, the last of the former Confederate states to abolish slavery, finally heard that the Civil War had ended, and learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had made them free nearly two years earlier. It is observed and celebrated annually on June 19th across the country.
We are proud to join efforts to officially observe this part of our nation’s history with a paid holiday.