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Lane commissioners make Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees

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Melorie Begay
/
KLCC
Lane County commissioners voted 5-0 to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees. This photo is from a Juneteenth celebration in Eugene in 2020.

Lane County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees.

Juneteenth, which is celebrated June 19th, commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States.

“Adopting Juneteenth as an official holiday is one of the first steps that we can take to ensure that we are making American descendants of slavery feel seen, welcomed and affirmed," said Lane County Equity Manager Latiffe Amado. "To celebrate Juneteenth, and to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States, is a path that we should proudly walk alongside our African-American community.”

Oregon lawmakers as well as Congress each passed laws last year making Juneteenth an official holiday. Lane County says the holiday will be observed on a Friday if June 19 falls on a Saturday, and the holiday will be observed on a Monday if June 19 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year.

"This is not something that's important to the BIPOC community alone," said Commissioner Joe Berney of Springfield. "This is important to every American. Slavery is the original sin of this country."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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