Long Beach to close City Hall Monday for Juneteenth

The Biden Administration’s swift action on Thursday to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday led Long Beach officials to close City Hall and give employees the day off on Monday.

Normally the holiday would be observed on a Friday, since June 19 falls on a Saturday this year. However, with only a day’s notice, the city decided to push the holiday to Monday, said spokesman Kevin Lee.

Existing agreements with labor unions and a city ordinance are linked to federal holidays, which allowed Long Beach officials to declare the holiday on such short notice without action by the City Council, he said.

The city closures will be similar to those of other federal holidays: For example, City Hall, fire headquarters and utility departments will be closed to the public, but essential services such as emergency response, refuse and recycling and Long Beach Airport will remain open.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing that the Civil War had ended and those who were enslaved were now free.

The City Council designated Juneteenth as a “Day of Celebration” earlier this month, and the Biden Administration took action to declare June 19 one of 12 federal holidays on Thursday.

Councilman Rex Richardson said on Twitter he hopes the holiday declaration “sparks conversations at kitchen tables, pulpits, and halls of Congress about the meaning of freedom, the plight of the descendants of enslaved people, and the responsibility America has toward repairing harm and healing.”

For a list of ways to celebrate Juneteenth locally, click here.

How to celebrate Juneteenth in Long Beach this weekend

 

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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