Pittsfield Adds Juneteenth to Roster of Municipal Holidays
The City of Pittsfield has added Juneteenth to its roster of municipal holidays. As Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19th, falls on a Saturday this year, city offices will be closed on Friday, June 18th.
A historical note: Juneteenth commemorates the ending of legalized slavery in the United States. It reflects the day, June 19th, 1865, when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and shared the news of freedom with enslaved African-Americans – nearly two and half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
In a communication to city personnel shared on Friday, May 14th, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer noted the past and present significance of the holiday.
The announcement delivered on June 19, marked a time of liberation, hope, and promise for the future. Juneteenth serves as a poignant reminder for all Americans that the journey to freedom and liberty has looked, and felt, very different for some of us in this country...I’m proud to know that our organization is committed to growing and taking active steps toward ensuring a wide and welcoming pathway for diversity, equity, and inclusion, also known as DEI, in local government.
According to a media release from the mayor’s office, the proposed creation of the city’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is one of several recommendations that resulted from the DEI study group formed by Mayor Tyer in 2020. The responsibilities of this new department will focus on recruitment and retention, leadership and career development, cultivating cultural competency, undertaking strategic planning, monitoring compliance, and leading advocacy.