Kansas City Council votes to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for city workers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Juneteenth, the celebration recognizing the Emancipation Proclamation, is now officially a holiday for employees working for the City of Kansas City.

And not only is it a holiday — it’s a paid holiday for city workers. City council members who approved the plan are encouraging employees to use the day for community service.

“Juneteenth is one of the oldest known celebrations commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States,” 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said.

“From my lens, the Emancipation Proclamation is one of, if not the most important, moral and humane actions of our nation,” Robinson said.

The decision comes as a continuation of a larger discussion started after last year’s unrest focused on police treatment of people of color.

Robinson said the decision to create the holiday for employees had wide support.

“It’s so important to know that we as a city are acknowledging that history,” Robinson said.

“There is a fiscal note: And this action is expected to cost the city $840,000 annually for employee overtime expenses, and it is expected to increase over the years with salary increases. The investment in making Juneteenth an annual holiday sends a tangible message to every one of our employees that we will never forget,” Robinson said.

The Juneteenth holiday for Kansas City employees will happen the third Friday of every June. It is important to note that this impacts only the employees of the City of Kansas City and not other businesses.

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