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Juneteenth officially a paid holiday in Hamilton County

'It's showing us that people are ready for this'
Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival 2017
Posted at 4:07 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 16:08:01-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — Juneteenth is now an official holiday in Hamilton County.

The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday on a resolution making Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees.

"I can't think of a more worthy holiday," said Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas.

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, and gave notice that the Civil War had ended and that all enslaved people were free. It was more than 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

The resolution, introduced by commissioner Victoria Parks, passed with a 3-0 vote and will go into effect June 19, 2021.

Lydia Morgan is the coordinator of the Cincinnati Juneteenth festival. She said more people than ever are paying attention to Juneteenth.

"We're having a revolution in this country right now. I think more people are paying attention to the things that have been left out and the people who have been left out," Morgan said. "The commissioners didn't just give the holiday to their African-American employees, they gave it to every employee because everyone should be celebrating it."

Morgan has been working with the Juneteenth foundation to make the holiday national. She said she used to receive push back from those who didn't think companies would want to give employees another paid holiday.

"We've had companies doing a paid holiday voluntarily, now we have the county commissioners," she said. "It's showing us that people are ready for this. People see the importance of this."