Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (June 18th) signed an executive order for Juneteenth (June 19th) to be added as a formal holiday for Jersey City municipal employees and to be added to the list of holidays where government will be closed. This will be in perpetuity.
Juneteenth is named for the date, June 19, 1865, that news of their Emancipation reached slaves in Texas.
Fulop said in an email “we as a city are embarking on a long term conversation about actionable reform with regards to how we define ourselves as a city. Recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday is a small step in acknowledging the fact that we have had a less than adequate conversation around our country’s history with slavery and the impact it still has on our communities.”
“While the conversation around the country has been largely focused on broad changes to police policy, I know that here in Jersey City we‘ve made progress on police and more, but I’ll also be the first to say that as a city we still have much more work to do. “
Just in the last two weeks with regards to public safety Mayot Fulop’s administration started to take actionable steps. Changing the use of force policies for the JCPD and last week the City Council announced that they are working on broader policy changes. This week, they also took steps to bring in a third party vendor to conduct a large scale de-escalation training for the ENTIRE police department. Beyond Public Safety Fulop’s administration view this as a way that the city can highlight the significance of the day in American History, where we can provoke conversation, and where we can draw awareness around our country’s history on slavery.