BY FREDA MIKLIN
Juneteenth was established as a national holiday by President Biden in 2021. It commemorates the day that the words, “All slaves are free,” were posted in an order to the citizenry for the first time in the State of Texas by a Union general, who was accompanied by federal troops.
It happened on June 19, 1865, two and one-half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which was not readily accepted in some places in the South.
Government offices for Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties were closed on June 19, 2023, in observance of the holiday, as were those of the Cities of Aurora, Centennial, and Littleton, along with the City and County of Denver.
A representative of the Englewood City Manager’s office told The Villager that Englewood city government would definitely observe the holiday beginning in 2024 but could not do so in 2023 because some of its employees are unionized and it required a change to union contracts that could not be accomplished in time this year.
A representative of Greenwood Village told us GV city government did not observe Juneteenth because GV publishes its list of observed holidays each year and Juneteenth was not on the 2023 list of observed holidays. The GV City Council met for a two-hour study session on June 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Cherry Hills Village told The Villager that they do not close for all federal holidays and currently stay open on Juneteenth, however there is no outside construction allowed or inspections performed on Juneteenth. City Clerk Laura Gillespie also told us, “Office hours and holidays are established through the Employee Handbook which is currently under review, so this status may change in the near future.”