Florida not recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday

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Juneteenth flag (CREDIT: WINK News)

Florida is one of the states not acknowledging Juneteenth as a state holiday.

President Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday last year.

WINK News spoke with leaders in the community on why they think it should be observed officially in Florida.

June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to tell the slaves they were no longer slaves.

Reverend Rickey L. Anderson Sr. said, “It needs to be a national holiday.”

A large majority of the states including Florida have yet to make Juneteenth a state holiday.

Map showing which states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. (CREDIT: Pew Research Center)

Anderson of Followers of Christ Fellowship Ministries is among those who believe that must change.

“Even though 150 some years later, there’s still this slave mentality where African Americans have to be enslaved,” Anderson Sr. said.

James Muwakkil, Lee County NAACP branch president said, “In Lee County, no black sheriff has ever been elected. No black county commissioner has ever been elected by the people. No black has ever been county manager no black has ever been elected state attorney. Progress has come slow.”

Muwakkil said he believes it’s not enough to do what Florida does, which is to issue a proclamation annually honoring the contributions of African Americans.

The state does not call the holiday “Juneteenth.” Instead, the governor’s proclamation uses the phrase “Emancipation day”

“We have freedom. But we don’t have equality,” Muwakkil said.

According to Muwakkil Juneteenth is not just a day of rejoicing. It’s also a day of understanding what still must be done.

While Florida does not recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday. The sunshine state was among the first states outside Texas to commemorate June 19 as a day of observance in the 1990s.

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