Juneteenth is a State Holiday in NJ: Here’s What That Means
New Jersey is poised to observe its first Juneteenth since the day was recognized as a state holiday.
On June 19, 1865, more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas were among the last to be told that they were free, following the end of the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863.
About 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to announce the news. The Thirteenth Amendment then officially ended slavery in the U.S.
In September, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation making the third Friday in June a paid state holiday.
It is among 14 state holidays being recognized this year.
Juneteenth first became a state holiday in Texas, more than 40 years ago in 1980.
In years past, such as 2012, the day was recognized in New Jersey with a proclamation by then Gov. Chris Christie.
Here's a look at the holiday's impact, statewide.
Who gets the day off?
State government offices are closed on these holidays, and state employees are entitled to these as paid days off, except for Lincoln's Birthday
In New Jersey, private employers are not required by state law to provide any holidays as paid (or unpaid) days off. Most employers observe at least six paid holidays, according to employee benefits experts.
Will there be school on Juneteenth?
Public schools are not automatically off with the state holiday.
Montclair schools have added Juneteenth to its calendar and Friday will be a day off for students and staff, amid a week of educational and community programs.
Will municipal offices be open?
Local government is at their own discretion — Madison has announced borough offices will be closed along with the state holiday.
Will there be mail on Juneteenth?
Yes. The U.S. Postal Service observes 10 official holidays a year, including Independence Day, which this year will be recognized a day late, since July 4 falls on a Sunday.
Is it a federal holiday?
As of Wednesday, not yet.
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday that would make Juneteenth a legal public holiday, and it is expected to also pass the House, before heading to President Joe Biden.
U.S. lawmakers currently are considering legislation that would make Juneteenth an official federal holiday, along with the following 10 other annual days, as well as Inauguration Day every four years:
- New Year’s Day
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Washington’s Birthday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
Are celebrations planned for June 19 around the state?
The newly dedicated Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May is hosting an official grand opening on Saturday, which will include reflections on the history and meaning of Juneteenth, according to the museum's Facebook page.
A Juneteenth celebration planned for Liberty State Park in Jersey City with paid admission also has drawn lots of interest and was marked as sold out on its social media pages.