New federal holiday could be observed in Yukon

City council will consider proposed ‘Juneteenth’ resolution

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Yukon City Council Member Jeff Wootton

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A new federal holiday could be observed in Yukon.

A resolution has been drafted to declare “Juneteenth” as an “observed public holiday” in the City of Yukon.

The resolution request will appear on the Yukon City Council’s April 5th meeting agenda, City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said.

The item was on the council’s last meeting docket but was pulled without discussion. No action was taken.

President Joe Biden in 2021 signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, recognizing June 19 as a federal holiday.

If approved by the city council, the proposal would amend the City of Yukon personnel manual to add this U.S. holiday commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves.

If the Juneteenth holiday is officially observed by the City of Yukon, public offices would be closed on June 19 each year.

“I believe that we should follow the lead of the state on what we recognize as official holidays,” Yukon City Council Member Jeff Wootton said.

The State of Oklahoma’s 2022 holiday schedule doesn’t include Juneteenth.

June 19 is the anniversary of when news reached Galveston, Texas in 1865 that the Civil War had ended and “all enslaved persons were then released from the bondage of slavery,” according to a proposed resolution.

June 19th has been celebrated in communities across the United States as “Juneteenth” and has also been designated as “Freedom Day”, “Jubilee Day”, “Liberation Day”, and “Emancipation Day.”

Juneteenth celebrations acknowledge the catastrophic legacy of slavery for generations of Black/African Americans and celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States,” the draft resolution reads.

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NOT A CANADIAN COUNTY HOLIDAY

The Juneteenth holiday also is not part of Canadian County’s 2022 holiday calendar.

Canadian County commissioners last September approved a schedule without the Juneteenth observance.

Canadian County’s holiday schedule authorizes county offices to be closed 11 days for nine holidays.

This includes two days for Thanksgiving and two days for Christmas, but not Columbus Day or Juneteenth.

Canadian County commissioners agreed unanimously not to add Juneteenth to the county’s holiday calendar as a paid “day off” for county government employees.

County Commissioner Dave Anderson emphasized that Canadian County “always follows” the state’s schedule.

The State of Oklahoma’s observed 2022 holidays are:

New Year’s Day (Friday, Dec. 31, 2021), Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan. 17), President’s Day (Monday, Feb. 21), Memorial Day (Monday, May 30), Independence Day (Monday, July 4), Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5), Veterans Day (Friday, Nov. 11), Thanksgiving (Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25), and Christmas (Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 26-27).

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