INDIAN TRAIL — The Indian Trail Town Council has passed a resolution designating June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day, in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which news of the end of slavery reached the slaves in the Southwestern United States. The resolution was passed at the Council’s Jan. 12 meeting.

City of Monroe Council Member Franco McGee presented the resolution to the Indian Trail Town Council. McGee was instrumental in getting a similar resolution passed in Monroe back in December.

“Less than 160 years ago, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation granting enslaved African Americans their freedom,” McGee said. “However, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, two and a half years later, when all slaves were actually set free.

“I initiated the recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday in Monroe because it is critically important that our City recognize it as the important moment in American history that it represents. It is not just a day off. It is the responsibility of the government to lead in matters of equity and equality, courageously; a critical step toward achieving healing, unity, and reconciliation throughout our City, State, and the Nation.”

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free.

African Americans who had been slaves in the Southwest celebrated June 19, commonly known as Juneteenth Independence Day. It is now celebrated in 46 states and the District of Columbia as a special day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States; however, it has yet to be declared a national holiday.

“Indian Trail honoring Juneteenth is a nice symbolic step,” said Josh Campbell, Indian Trail code enforcement officer. “It’s saying, yes, this is a special day that should be acknowledged and recognized by all of us. It’s a day to celebrate freedom and reflect on the battles it took for many of us to be free. Most people associate American independence only during the Fourth of July but overlook the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans remained unfree, as slaves. So, for us to share a day that we celebrate the freeing of the last enslaved is appropriate. I’m proud of the Mayor and Town Council for choosing to do this.”

The Juneteenth resolution officially designates June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day in Indian Trail. It recognizes the historical significance of the holiday to the United States and designates June 19 as an annual paid municipal holiday.

“I would like to thank Council Member McGee for bringing this resolution to Indian Trail,” said Mayor Michael Alvarez. “Juneteenth is a significant day in our nation’s history, and it should be recognized and celebrated. This is a small but needed step in helping to unify our community. Hopefully, someday soon, it will be recognized at the federal level. I look forward to working with Council Member McGee, the City of Monroe and other municipalities to create events that will celebrate Juneteenth and better educate the community on the importance of this day.”