Virginia makes Juneteenth a paid state holiday


Image via Jack Mayer

Helen Ehrlich, Editor-In-Chief

The state of Virginia made international news by declaring Juneteenth a paid state holiday.  Governor Northam signed an executive order on Wednesday June 17, 2020 making Juneteenth an official holiday in the state. International superstar Pharrell stood with Governor Northam and backed the declaration.


Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, after those who were people in Texas were freed a staggering two years after the conclusion of the Civil War. It recognizes the date June 19, 1865.


Virginia is only the second state to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday. All but four states celebrate the holiday, but it is not nationally recognized as a paid holiday, and it is not a federal holiday. After weeks of protesting, the United States has just come to recognize the racism that is engrained in the nation’s history.


Calls from major brands to make Juneteenth a federal holiday had gained strength, as the federal legislation has been tied up in congress since President Obama was in office. Virginia, one of the most progressive Southern states and the former capital of the Confederacy, is making a bold statement with this executive order.