Juneteenth is Now a Floating Holiday for County Employees. Here’s What That Means.

An executive order makes the holiday official for this upcoming June 19th.

This morning, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson announced an executive order officially designating June 19th — the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States — a floating holiday for all county employees.

The executive order applies to this upcoming June 19th and a County Board resolution will soon be introduced to make this floating holiday permanent. County employees will have the day off, and if Juneteenth lands on a weekend, like it does this year, the day off is applied to a week day. 

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“As America begins, again, to open our hearts and minds to fully accept and seek to redress centuries of oppression and systemic racism, Milwaukee County is taking a step forward to formally acknowledge and celebrate Black Independence Day and all that it symbolizes,” Nicholson said in the announcement.

Milwaukee has held Juneteenth celebrations for 49 years, led by the Northcott Neighborhood House and the Juneteenth Day Executive Committee — one of the longest-running Juneteenth celebrations in the nation. This year’s Juneteenth parade and street festival were both cancelled due to the coronavirus.

“Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the rich history and culture of the African American community,” Crowley said in his announcement. “It is also a day to appreciate the long struggle for civil rights that Black people in America have faced for centuries. I am hopeful that our employees will be able to take June 19 as a day ‘on’ not a day off in order to fully support Black lives, liberation and the vision of Milwaukee County to achieve racial equity and become the healthiest county in Wisconsin.”

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.