LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – On the first day of Black History Month, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer took a step to honor and recognize a historical Black holiday.
Last year Fischer signed an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday for Louisville Metro employees.
Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday commemorating the final communication of the abolition of slavery in the United Sates. Fischer’s newest and first executive order of 2021 created a 15 member Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission to organize events for its celebration in Louisville.
Aukram Burton, with the Kentucky Center from African American Heritage, said even though the Civil War ended slavery, 225,000 slaves in Kentucky did not find out until months later that they were free.
Burton said the executive order will help with education for future generations.
“I’m worried for our children 10 years from now. With what they have experienced over the last four years,” Burton said. “We have to step up and address what it means to be a citizen.”
Juneteenth is a combination of June and 19th also known as Emancipation Day and Jubilee Day among other celebratory titles.
Fischer said the commission aligns with the city’s racial equity work along with the culture of Louisville and can help move our city from tragedy to transformation.
“We have to do more,” Fischer said. “Invest more to heal the scars racism has left and continues to leave in our city.”
The celebration will most likely be virtual this year, however plans for Juneteenth 2022 will start right away.
Fischer said the journey for true equality will continue for a long time.
The commission includes councilmembers Jecory Arthur, Paula McCraney, David James and other Black leaders across the city, including WAVE3 News anchor Dawne Gee.