Juneteenth is now officially a paid holiday for state workers in Georgia after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation increasing the number of paid state holidays from 12 to 13. The legislation had bipartisan support in the state legislature, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and creates alignment with the federal holiday calendar.
Juneteenth has been celebrated for more than hundred years to mark the newfound freedom formerly enslaved Black people found after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. It was officially made a federal holiday last year after President Joe Biden signed legislation into law.
“I have to tell you, I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as president,” Biden said during the White House signing ceremony last year. “By making Juneteenth a federal holiday –– and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we’ve came [and] distance we have to travel.”
Speaking of that distance, two of the state holidays Georgia observes actually honor the Confederacy –– Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Birthday. Typically, those days are used as floating holidays and are usually observed on Good Friday and the day after Thanksgiving.
This year, June 19 is on a Sunday, so the holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20 instead.