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What is Closed on Juneteenth 2024? A Look at the Federal Holiday Commemorating Freedom

It’s essential to recognize the significance of this federal holiday and its impact on various institutions and services. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, marks a pivotal moment in American history—the day when the last enslaved African Americans in the United States were informed of their freedom.

Juneteenth, a blend of “June” and “nineteenth,” commemorates the date in 1865 when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of all enslaved people. This announcement came over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The delay in enforcement meant that many enslaved individuals in Texas remained unaware of their freedom until Granger’s proclamation.

The holiday, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day, symbolizes a significant turning point in the nation’s history. It represents not only the end of slavery but also the enduring struggle for equality and justice for Black Americans.

While Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black communities across the United States for generations, it wasn’t until 2021 that it gained federal holiday status. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 2021, following a period of renewed national focus on racial inequality and social justice.

As a federal holiday, Juneteenth will see several closures and changes in service across various sectors:

Federal Government Offices: All nonessential federal offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. This includes the U.S. Postal Service, which will not deliver regular mail, although online services and premium Priority Mail Express will still be available.

Banks: Most major banks, including Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and Truist, will be closed in observance of Juneteenth. ATMs and online banking services, however, will remain operational.

State and Local Government Offices: While Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday, the observance at the state level varies. At least 28 states and the District of Columbia have designated Juneteenth as a permanent paid or legal holiday. For example, in Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly has designated Juneteenth a state holiday, closing executive branch state offices under her authority. However, states like Indiana will keep their offices open.

Courts: Federal courts will be closed, although e-filing services will be available.

Schools: Public schools will generally be closed for the federal holiday, though many will already be on summer break. Policies may vary for private schools and universities.

Retail and Businesses: Many retail stores and restaurants will remain open, although some private employers may choose to give employees the day off or offer it as a floating holiday.

Transportation: Public transportation services, such as DART in some regions, will continue to operate, although schedules may vary by location.

Juneteenth is not just a day off but a time for reflection and celebration of freedom and resilience. Across the country, communities will observe the holiday with parades, street festivals, musical performances, and cookouts. Events often include readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and educational activities to honor the legacy of those who fought for freedom and equality.

In addition to public celebrations, individuals like Ted Paris of TD Bank honor Juneteenth by reflecting on personal family histories and legacies of courage and boldness. Paris’s family, including his cousin, Judge Constance Baker Motley, has made significant contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, embodying the spirit of Juneteenth.

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