Starting on June 19, 2021, Suffolk County will celebrate Juneteenth and African American freedom and achievement.
County Executive Steve Bellone issued an executive order Friday designating June 19, 2020 and every year thereafter as Juneteenth in the county, and directed the county’s Office of Minority Affairs to develop a plan to celebrate the day going forward. The celebrations will include festivals, parades, musical events and prayer services, and the county will seek input from the community.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order earlier this week making Juneteenth a holiday for New York state employees.
“While Juneteenth has traditionally been celebrated by the African American Community, it is important for all Americans to come together and recognize this holiday because of what it represents and stands for,” Bellone said. “As we commemorate the end of slavery today, we must remember that the end of slavery does not mean the end of racism. We continue to work every day to uphold the ideals of equality for all and these two new initiatives will help us achieve our goals of an inclusive Suffolk County.”
Also, Bellone is requiring that all county employees receive and complete Implicit Bias Training by Juneteenth 2021. He had announced June 12 an executive order mandating the training for the entire county workforce to help create an environment of equity, access and inclusion. Police officers have previously received the nationally recognized program since 2018.
Bellone said the training will be made available to other government employees in Suffolk County.