Statement from PEF President Wayne Spence on the signing of an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees:
We thank Governor Cuomo for allowing New York State to lead the nation once again, by signing an Executive Order today that recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees.
On June 19, 1865 the last enslaved African Americans learned of their freedom. Juneteenth, which commemorates that day, is a day of celebration but also a day to reflect on past horrors like slavery, racism and discrimination and the ongoing fight for civil rights and equal justice under the law.
Recent events in our country involving the tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor and just this week, Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police officers, are shining a light on the disparities that still very much exist for for black and brown Americans in income, education, healthcare, job opportunities and justice.
As a union, the Public Employees Federation is “committed to exposing and fighting all forms of bigotry and discriminatory practices that tend to deprive persons of their human and/or civil rights” (Article 2, PEF Constitution), and we are proud to join Governor Cuomo and New York State in acknowledging Juneteenth not only today but on every Juneteenth in the future.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order:
For those of you interested in learning more about Juneteenth, here is an informative article from the New York Times on its history: