By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to make Juneteenth a commemorative holiday in the city. Denver will celebrate Juneteenth on the Saturday closest to June 19.

“Denver has a proud, longstanding tradition of celebrating Juneteenth in the community,” Councilman Christopher Herndon said. “This is an opportunity to shine a light on Black history and officially recognize and celebrate our freedom, heritage, and achievement.”

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Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to share the news that the Civil War had ended. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years prior, but it had little impact on Texans due to the limited presence of Union Troops to enforce the order.

(credit: Getty Images)

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock issued the following statement to CBS4:

“I’m proud to have worked with Councilman Herndon and community leader, Norman Harris to help make Juneteenth a citywide, commemorative holiday to elevate the experience of African Americans in our city and across the country. This long overdue recognition honors African American freedom, history and achievement; renews Denver’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion; and opens the door for residents, especially our young people, to be educated about this moment in American history, learn from its lessons, and embrace and understand its impacts on modern culture.”

Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival (credit: CBS)

For the past several years, Denver has celebrated Juneteenth with a music festival in Five Points. It has become one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country. For more information, visit juneteenthmusicfestival.com.

Audra Streetman