Juneteenth To Become Paid Holiday For Winston-Salem City Employees

Juneteenth To Become Paid Holiday For Winston-Salem City Employees

9:29am Sep 22, 2020
Winston-Salem City Council met virtually on Monday, September 21. APRIL LAISSLE/WFDD

Juneteenth will soon become a holiday for the city of Winston-Salem employees. The city council voted Monday to recognize the holiday, which celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. 

The idea prompted concerns from several councilmembers, including Annette Scippio, who initially suggested tabling the measure. Scippio noted that the proposal did not create an additional paid day off, but instead took away a floating holiday typically used by employees for Christmas Eve.  

She also said that the move could open the door to more holiday requests from other minority groups, a concern shared by councilmembers Robert Clark and John Larson. 

“This is one holiday that is about emancipation of African-Americans in America. And in this city, Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated for the emancipation of Mexicans," said Scippio. "Again, another ethnic group. I believe we need to clearly write down what our expectations are when we grant paid holidays.”

Mayor Pro Tem D.D. Adams noted that several North Carolina cities had already taken the step. 

“I'm asking you to do this. Again, this is in respect of the fact of what America did to a race of people," said Adams. "We deserve a holiday and an acknowledgment day. And as I said before, the details will be worked out.”

Ultimately, the council sided with Adams and voted unanimously to formally recognize the holiday in 2021.

Support your
public radio station