KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city of Blue Springs, Missouri, has approved Juneteenth as an official paid holiday for city employees.
Starting this year, city facilities will be closed in Blue Springs on Juneteenth. The holiday this year falls on the weekend, so city facilities will be closed to the public on Monday, June 20.
"Juneteenth is celebrated in communities across the country in the same spirit as the Fourth of July but has often been overlooked outside the Black community," a release from the city said.
The holiday commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S., when on June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing the news that enslaved people had been emancipated.
Juneteenth has been celebrated since, but it wasn't recognized as a federal holiday until last year when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Act.
As part of the City of Blue Springs broader Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, Mayor Carson Ross has approved Juneteenth as an official paid holiday for city employees.
"I want to challenge our employees and community to take this day to deepen awareness by participating in local Juneteenth Celebrations, reading a book about Black experiences, eating at a Black-owned restaurant," Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross said in the release.