In states where Juneteenth still doesn't have a day off, workers' demand for leave is growing
When Juneteenth became a federal holiday last year, South Carolina organizer Jamal Bradley was excited for it to finally get the recognition it deserves
But his enthusiasm was quickly dashed when he learned state leaders decided not to follow suit in observing the holiday.
Also known as "Emancipation Day" or "Freedom Day," Juneteenth commemorates
June 19, 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and gave word to
enslaved African Americans that they were free — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The holiday has been celebrated by many Black families for generations, but began to gain wider attention in 2020 after
the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
"It just lets me know there's still work left to do in South Carolina," said Bradley, who started a petition for Juneteenth to become a state holiday.
Despite the federal recognition, some Black organizers are beginning to see that local support can be a harder lift.
While every state has at some point recognized Juneteenth as a day of observance, 26 states have yet to adopt Juneteenth as a paid public holiday