(WTNH) — The cities of Hartford and New Haven are getting behind a national movement to honor Juneteenth, an American holiday commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S.
New Haven is where one of slavery’s most famous legal cases was fought. The Amistad Memorial on Church Street reminds people every day of the enslaved revolt aboard the Amistad, and the court case that ultimately freed them. Decades later, the last of those enslaved in the United States were freed, and that is what will be celebrated on Friday.
Governor Ned Lamont has also declared June 19, 2020, as Juneteenth Day in Connecticut.
In a statement on social media, Gov. Lamont said, “Today I’ve declared June 19, 2020, as Juneteenth Day in Connecticut. But simply recognizing a day and educating people about our country’s history is not enough. We must do more. We must take action to reach the goal of a more equal and just society.”
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker and the city’s Board of Alders followed suit and announced that the Elm City is designating Juneteenth as a city holiday on Friday afternoon as well.
Juneteenth is getting more attention than it has in years. Some big companies are even making it a holiday for workers. With all of the marches for racial justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, some are calling for it to be a national holiday.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin is not the only lawmaker supporting Juneteenth as a holiday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making it a holiday for state employees.
There are events scheduled all over the state to mark the day. The Black and Hispanic Caucus of the New Haven Board of Alders will be hosting their annual commemoration event at the Amistad Memorial on Church Street on Friday. That event is set for 5:30 p.m. to “honor the ancestors” as they put it.
Juneteenth marks the day two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that those enslaved in Texas were told that they were free. So from the beginning, actual justice often followed years behind the passing of laws.
Other special Juneteenth ceremonies are taking place all across the state including:
- In Newington, a celebration at noon outside of Town Hall
- In Waterbury, an event is happening at Silas Library at 1 p.m.
- Head to Broadway in New Haven to honor the holiday at 1 p.m.
- People in Hartford are celebrating Juneteenth in Bushnell Park at 2 p.m.
- People are getting together at 5 p.m. at Veterans Park in Norwalk
- A ceremony is being held in Torrington on Main Street
- In Middletown, you can observe the holiday on Rapollo Avenue at 6 p.m.
- In Scotland, a special event is being held on the Town Green at 6 p.m.