RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County leaders Monday afternoon approved a paid day off for county workers for a Juneteenth holiday.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners passed the holiday measure with a unanimous vote.
“This is the oldest nationally celebrated holiday for people of color. Recognizing Juneteenth is not just recognizing black history, it is recognizing American history,” Commissioner Jessica Holmes said.
She spearheaded the effort.
Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford made the announcement Saturday about a possible vote on via Twitter. He also included a proclamation about the holiday.
Juneteenth is the day when African-Americans in Texas received notice that slavery was abolished via the 13th Amendment.
The holiday will take effect in 2021 on June 19, costing the county $544,428, according to a Wake County government news release, which added Wake County is the first in the state to approve such a measure.
“Wake County has had to make a lot of cuts to a lot of services,” Joey Stansbury with the Wake Citizens Coalition said.
He reached out to CBS 17, concerned about the cost of the additional holiday.
CBS 17 asked Holmes about the costs.
“The fact that we have never recognized Juneteenth doesn’t mean that we should not have previously recognized Juneteenth,” she explained.
The spending is based on paying hourly employees for a day not worked, the county said in the news release.
“By making June 19 a holiday, we give our more than 4,000 employees the opportunity to learn more about the end of slavery in our country and show their commitment to making today’s society more equitable and inclusive,” Ford said in the news release.
Wake County now recognizes 10 holidays, resulting in 13 days off annually for county government workers.
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