Longmont council plans to designate Juneteenth as an official city government holiday
Longmont would add Juneteenth to its annual set of official holidays observed by the city, as part of a proposal submitted for city council discussion on Tuesday evening.
If adopted by council at a future meeting, the city’s designation of Juneteenth as a public holiday would mark Longmont’s recognition of the holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to tell the slaves they were free.
Longmont’s adoption of Juneteenth as an officially recognized public holiday in the city would provide for the annual closure of most municipal government facilities on June 19 – or, as might be celebrated next year since June 19, 2022 is a Sunday. – June 20, 2022, and add it to the annual paid vacation schedules for City of Longmont employees.
On June 14, then-mayor Brian Bagley read a proclamation regarding the June 17 observation and called for the proclamation to be placed on the upcoming agenda as a resolution to be considered by the municipal council, which it did and adopted on July 13th.
This resolution stated that council members “recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth” and “support the continued celebration of Juneteenth to give residents of the Town of Longmont the opportunity to learn more about the past, to better understand the experiences that shaped the nation. “
The council said in its July resolution that it encouraged the people of Longmont “to observe the day of June 17 with appropriate ceremonies, activities and programs” and that “as a government body we oppose and reject all forms of oppression, we pledge to support our residents and local entities working for equality and the protection of human rights.
Joanne Zias, the city’s director of social services, wrote to council in a memo for Tuesday night’s discussion that Longmont currently recognizes 10 statutory holidays: New Year’s Day; Martin Luther King Jr Day; President’s Day; Memorial day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving day; the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Zeas wrote to the council that city staff are considering whether to incorporate Juneteenth as a recognized public holiday into the city’s employee benefit plan. Her memo indicated that the vacation was a priority for possible incorporation due to the July council resolution regarding the annual June 19 date celebration.
If council agrees to go ahead with the idea, staff will come back, at a future meeting, with a proposed ordinance for council to formally approve to add the day to its current list of holidays. .
Longmont staff are not proposing, as part of the review of the city’s statutory holiday list, the addition of Columbus Day – or as some government jurisdictions have replaced or renamed or included it simultaneously – Indigenous Peoples Day.
Zeas noted in his note to the board that on October 8, President Joe Biden declared October 11, 2021 to be recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day, on the same day officially recognized as the federal holiday of Columbus Day. Neither Columbus Day nor Indigenous Peoples Day is currently included in the Town of Longmont vacation schedule.
If you are going to:
What: Regular meeting of Longmont municipal council
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Or: Civic Center Council Room, 350 Kimbark Street, Longmont