PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced on Saturday that he is making Juneteenth a city holiday.
Peduto made the announcement at the St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Lower Hill District, where a forum is currently being held to honor the anniversaries of when Black men and women gained the right to vote in the United States. This year marks the 150th anniversary for Black men and the 100th anniversary for Black women. Juneteenth will be a city holiday starting in 2021.
You can read his full announcement here:
“Today, we celebrate those who fought for equitable access to voting – who fought to tell the world that Black people have a voice and that voice is important to helping to shape the future of our neighborhoods, our state and our country.
We also celebrate those who have kept the rich culture and heritage of our Black communities alive and thriving – those such as B Marshall and others, who have passed along the rich tradition of Juneteenth in Pittsburgh every year with the Grand Jubilee of Freeman Parade, which was started in Pittsburgh in 1870.
Today, I’m announcing that starting June 19, 2021, Juneteenth will be a holiday in the City of Pittsburgh by order of the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. This follows a resolution by Council President Theresa Kail-Smith commemorating the holiday this summer.
Juneteenth reminds us of the rich history of Black Pittsburgh and celebrates those who worked hard so that Black people’s voices could be heard through voting.
Throughout history, many have tried to silence Black voices. We have arrived in a critical time where they are finally getting the attention that they deserve – and they are being heard. Many of us, particularly privileged white men, have not always listened as much as we should have. The time is now to make that change permanent, and formally set aside this holiday to celebrate Black voices.”
Juneteenth is a holiday that recognizes the end of slavery in 1865 when slaves in Texas finally learned of their emancipation.