Loudoun Government Adds Juneteenth Paid Holiday

Loudoun County supervisors voted to add a Juneteenth holiday to the calendar for public employees, and to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

June 19th, or Juneteenth, marks the day in 1865 when, just after the end of the Civil War, Union Army General Gordon Granger announced the abolition of slavery in Texas, the last Confederate state where the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced. Slavery across the U.S. would be completely abolished later that year with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In September 2020, after delivering to the U.S. Congress a petition with 1.54 million signatures supporting the establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday, 93-year-old activist Opal Lee visited with Loudoun County leaders. Best known as Ms. Opal and hailing from Fort Worth, TX, she launched a walking campaign in 2016 to promote awareness of the effort to make June 19 an annual national day of observance.

It is part of a larger conversation across the county and the country about which occasions—and which historical figures—should be honored with public holidays.

The Loudoun County School Board voted to do away with Columbus Day in September 2020, also changing it to Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the school holiday calendar. In December the School Board would go on to vote to add Election Day and three religious holidays, Yom Kippur, Diwali, and Eid-al-Fitr to its holiday calendar.

Also in September, the Leesburg Town Council added Juneteenth to its holiday calendar.

Supervisors last year also added a paid Election Day holiday, aligning with the state’s calendar for its public employees. At the state level, that replaced Lee-Jackson Day. Loudoun County eliminated Lee-Jackson day long before the state, replacing it in 2010 with a floating holiday for county employees.

In 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the state would also celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.

County employees now have 14.5 paid holidays in a year, including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, a half day on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Election Day, Juneteenth, Indigenous People’s Day and a floating holiday.

Supervisors approved the change with an 8-0-1 vote on Jan. 19, with Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent.

The projected cost of the county government’s holiday pay is approximately $450,000. In 2021, June 19 will fall on a Saturday.

8 thoughts on “Loudoun Government Adds Juneteenth Paid Holiday

  • 2021-01-22 at 1:14 pm

    14.5 paid holidays, vacation, sick time… and now we have Savages day added. Native Americans began selling war captives to Europeans rather than integrating them into their own societies. Was Virginia told about the end of slavery on June 19th? No! Bogus virtue signaling at it’s best led by the cheap suits at the school board along with the Board of Supervisors.

  • 2021-01-22 at 3:40 pm

    our tax dollars at work. Virtual schooling so teachers don’t have to go into work, wasting time with witch hunts. What’s next? What are we the tax payers getting in return. 58% of Loudoun taxes are going to education. What education. Now another holiday? Next thing you know it’ll be paid three day weekends. Anyone work any more?

  • 2021-01-22 at 9:36 pm

    Loudoun employees now have now holidays than federal employees. If they want this as a holiday, why not take back a different holiday to keep it balanced.

    Once again the BOS are giving away tax payer money.

  • 2021-01-24 at 12:43 am

    Only my African American friends in Texas recognized this day. Growing up in Chicago and Florida, my African American friends never even heard of it. And in 25 years of business, never has an African American mentioned it…this is so PC and something Democrats do disingenuously to garner votes and attention. If Virginia Democrats cared about race or the NAACP of Virginia cared, they would have demanded Governor KKK/BLACKFACE (Northham) & Attorney General Blackface (Herring) resign! Why didn’t they? All of this is insincere. FACT.

  • 2021-01-24 at 11:25 am

    Just what we need! More paid holidays for Loudoun Government employees, while those of us in the private sector lost jobs, and the current board of supervisors raises taxes on everyone. These supervisors need to get the boot when they come up for reelection.

    • 2021-01-25 at 7:18 pm

      In three election cycles Loudoun County has gone from 9-0 Republican to 6-3 Democrat. So, how did that happen? Did all of the new arrivals in the past 10 years vote Democrat and if so, why? Having lived in Georgia twice, the Republicans in Georgia lost both runoff elections because of laziness. Perdue won the vote count the first time by 87,000 votes but his percentage was 49.75%. So, for the want of a couple of hundred folks getting off their couches and voting, there would have been no issues in the US Senate. I see the same thing happening here. Folks are just not voting and just like in Georgia, conservative people tend to go on election day and not use mail-in or absentee balloting. If Loudoun County wants balanced government, then it’s time to put the shoe leather on the ground and get with it. I don’t agree with Stacey Abrams but the one thing she did do was get out there and register people to vote. She put in the time and look at the results. I predict the next Governor’s race in GA will result in a Democrat winning that also. I don’t know who the Republican Party leaders are here in Loudoun County, but they better get with it soon or it’s going to be 9-0 Democrat on the BoS within another election cycle or two. The same goes for Congresswoman’s Wexton seat, the Senate seats, and Governor’s race as well.

  • 2021-01-25 at 2:27 pm

    Festivus for the rest of us if you want to add another paid holiday.

    The clown show continues with no end in site.

  • 2021-01-26 at 5:36 am

    I support making Juneteenth a federal holiday, the United States should never forget Democrats owned slaves and Republicans freed them.

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