County employees will celebrate the end of slavery with a paid day off each year after a unanimous vote from the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.
The commissioners voted 3-0 to mark Juneteenth as a paid holiday, starting in 2021.
The holiday, celebrated every June 19th, commemorates the Union Army reaching Galveston, Texas, and ordering all slaves free on June 19, 1865. This is traditionally celebrated as the end of chattel slavery in the United States.
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Commissioner Victoria Parks introduced the resolution, which was quickly passed on Wednesday with little new discussion.
“I can’t think of a more worthy holiday to have,” said Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas.
The resolution does not mention Columbus Day. Earlier this month, Dumas said she would like the few remaining county offices that recognize Columbus Day to replace it with Juneteenth.
Most of Hamilton County government stopped recognizing Columbus Day as a paid holiday more than two decades ago, substituting it with the day after Thanksgiving. But some union contracts with the county, mostly with sheriff’s deputies and bailiffs, get Columbus Day off, according to county spokesperson Bridget Doherty.
The county commissioners can’t change union contracts without a union’s consent.
Commission president Denise Driehaus said the addition of Juneteenth brings Hamilton County to 11 paid holidays, in line with what other counties throughout the state are doing. Cuyahoga County also has 11 paid holidays, she said, while Franklin County has 10.
“We are not an outlier here by declaring another paid holiday in Hamilton County,” she said. “I do think it’s an important holiday to recognize.”
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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: ‘I can’t think of a more worthy holiday’: Juneteenth is now a paid day off in Hamilton County