By Corinne Murdock |
The city of Flagstaff is looking to designate Juneteenth and Native American Heritage Day as two official city holidays this year.
Flagstaff’s Commission on Diversity Awareness reported during last week’s meeting that they would be working with the Indigenous Commission to establish the two holidays.
City officials noted that the city would be aligning with the Biden administration’s initiative, with bipartisan support from Congress, declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021. Juneteenth occurs on June 19, in recognition of the declaration freeing Texan slaves on June 19, 1865.
In his first proclamation recognizing Juneteenth, President Joe Biden said that slavery has left a legacy of “systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity,” and that the nation owed it to Black Americans to commit to equitable work.
“In its celebration of freedom, Juneteenth is a day that should be recognized by all Americans,” stated Biden. “And that is why I am proud to have consecrated Juneteenth as our newest national holiday.”
A similar call to action was issued earlier this month by foremost diversity, equity, and inclusion pundit, Ibram Kendi, at a keynote speech arranged by Arizona State University (ASU). Kendi advocated for an authoritarian rule by anti-racist elite, a proposal that ASU later commended in a write-up of the speaking event.
“In order to create a society whereby we have policies and practices that are equitable and just and fair — and provide equal opportunity for all, and institutions that are built on those policies — we don’t necessarily need to create a critical mass of Americans who are anti-racist,” said Kendi. “We just need enough people who can get into positions of power, who will then institute [anti-racist] policies and practices.”
Flagstaff’s proposed Native American Heritage Day — slated to occur on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving — would replace their former recognition of the day, eponymously named “Day After Thanksgiving.”
The federal government already designated Black Friday as Native American Heritage Day. The concept arose from a resolution by former Democratic California Rep. Joe Baca and was signed by Former President George Bush in 2008.
“[Congress] encourages the people of the United States, as well as Federal, State, and local governments, and interested groups and organizations to observe Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, including activities relating to—the historical status of Native American tribal governments as well as the present day status of Native Americans; the cultures, traditions, and languages of Native Americans; and the rich Native American cultural legacy that all Americans enjoy today,” read the resolution.
The city has regularly celebrated November as “Native American Heritage Month” annually.
Flagstaff hasn’t been the only city to modify its holidays as of late. Last week, Phoenix City Council approved a resolution to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day over Columbus Day this year. The city’s move aligned with the Biden administration’s annual declaration of the holiday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to email@example.com.