State Senator Adam Gomez, State Representatives Bud Williams, Orlando Ramos, Carlos Gonzalez and Jacob Oliveira, City Council President Jesse Lederman and Councilors Tim Allen and Sean Curran, School Committee members Denise Hurst and LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Veterans’ Services Director Tom Belton, and representatives from US Senators Markey and Warren were also in attendance. The Stone Soul Soldiers Peter Brace Brigade marched and presented the Colors and Springfield’s golden voice Vanessa Ford sang ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’. Mayor Sarno, Mayoral Aide Lavar Click-Bruce and the City Hall facility team led by Al Rodriguez also raised a Juneteenth flag down at City Hall.
The new Juneteenth state holiday, which is observed annually on June 19th, marks the anniversary date of June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas, news of the Emancipation Proclamation to the residents of Texas and freed all remaining enslaved people in the state.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I have always supported past Juneteenth events and this is an important and appropriate recognition in our city and nations history.”
Governor Charlie Baker approved the Juneteenth holiday across the state in 2020 but local municipalities had to make the decision on if they wanted to approve it as a paid holiday for city employees. Both the City Council and Mayor Sarno approved and supported the measure to add Juneteenth as a paid legal holiday for the City of Springfield.
On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed into law a bill establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.