COVINGTON, Ky. — The city of Covington voted this week to acknowledge Juneteenth as an official city holiday.
The city voted to replace Presidents Day as an official holiday with the observation of Juneteenth, which will happen on Monday, June 20th. This means that the upcoming Presidents Day holiday on Monday, February 21, will not be observed and offices will remain open.
The designation means that when Juneteenth is observed, it is a paid holiday for non-union city employees and city administrative offices will be closed.
On a more symbolic level, the city of Covington said in a press release that it is "taking another step to acknowledge the diversity of the Covington community and to show that being inclusive and welcoming is a core value that needs to be formalized and publicized."
Juneteenth is celebrated by Afircan Americans as the day that marked the end of slavery in the United States. It combines "June" and "19th" to mark the date in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the country in Texas learned they were free. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, but word didn't reach certain parts of the country until the Civil War was over and it could be enforced across all states.
The first celebration of "Juneteenth" happened in 1866, and Texas was the first state to make it an official holiday in 1979.
It was recognized as a federal holiday beginning in 2021.
The State of Ohio, Indiana and Hamilton County also all recognized Juneteenth as a holiday in 2021.