Council votes to make Juneteenth an official city holiday

September 22, 2022

On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, the Common Council approved an ordinance making Juneteenth Day an official city holiday.

The legislation – Council file #220475 – was authored by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs.

“Juneteenth Day (June 19) holds a special significance for so many people — it is a federal holiday and a few years ago Milwaukee County passed legislation recognizing Juneteenth Day as an official holiday and it is time now for this important day to be recognized officially at the city level,” Alderwoman Coggs said.

“Juneteenth Day represents a significant moment in history for many in this country. I want to thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support of this file and recognition of the importance of Juneteenth Day,” she said.

Milwaukee’s participation in the annual Juneteenth Day Celebration, a national event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, is one of the nation’s oldest (more than 50 years) and is Milwaukee’s longest-running cultural festival.

“With the passing of this legislation, the city will celebrate a significant moment in history for many thousands of our fellow citizens and neighbors, and having city workers be able to fully celebrate the day as a holiday is tremendously positive,” Alderwoman Coggs said.

The Finance and Personnel Committee recommended the file for approval at its September 14 meeting.

Several cities throughout the U.S. have also recognized Juneteenth as an official city holiday, and that list includes New York, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

File #220475 was co-sponsored by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, and Alderman Michael J. Murphy.