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Jackson mayor pushes to make Juneteenth city holiday

Posted at 4:51 AM, Jun 22, 2020

JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies is pushing to make Jackson the first city in the state of Michigan to declare Juneteenth an official, paid city holiday.

On Friday, Dobies signed a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth Celebration Day, and called on the city administration to make it an official holiday. Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

“Our city is going to celebrate Juneteenth, but also continue to put in the work to ensure we are confronting the racial challenges we face head on,” Dobies said. “Making Juneteenth a city holiday shows the importance we place on the meaning of this day to so many in our community, and our desire to engage our community in conversations on racial equity.”

“We celebrate Juneteenth every year, but this year - given our conversations around racism and Black lives - it matters even more,” said City Councilman Freddie Dancy. “The story of Juneteenth is twofold: we celebrate the emancipation of our people, but in it we are reminded of the fact that - for so many - justice continues to be delayed.”

Due to COVID-19, the city had to cancel their annual in-person Juneteenth celebration downtown. Instead, community leaders created a video and also plan to join others in the painting of a Black Lives Matter mural on Washington Avenue this weekend.

Today in Jackson, Jackson College recognizes the day and is giving students the day off, despite recent reports of the college requiring students to be in class for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The University denied two petitions for students to make that a holiday with no classes.

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