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Cesar Chavez Day, Juneteenth Designated City Holidays

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By Lookout Staff

March 16, 2022 -- City facilities and programs will be closed two additional days each year after the City Council on Tuesday designated Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth as official holidays.

Approved unanimously, the designation is "part of continued efforts to address systemic barriers to racism and better include, celebrate, and uplift communities of color," City officials said in a statement.

Cesar Chavez will be commemorated on the last day in March, which this year falls on March 28, while Juneteenth takes place on June 19 but will be celebrated on Monday, June 20 this year.

“As a city, we want our holiday observances to reflect our values and celebrate important trailblazers and moments in our collective history,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich.

“So Santa Monica is proud to adopt and observe Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth as official City holidays and to shine a brighter light on their significance to our nation’s history.”

Cesar Chavez Day commemorates the union leader's legacy "as a community organizer who improved the lives and working conditions of millions of Latino/a farm workers nationwide," officials said.

"He dedicated his life to advocating for labor rights, political representation for ethnic minorities, environmental justice, voter registration rights, and improving literacy amongst farm workers."

Cesar Chavez Day has been designated a holiday in nine states, including California, as well as in Los Angeles County and the City of LA.

Juneteenth marks the day -- June 19, 1865 -- when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas "to announce that the Civil War had ended, and all slaves were free.

"Though declared free two years earlier by President Lincoln through the Emancipation Proclamation, many had not yet been freed."

In addition to shutting down facilities and programs on those days, the City will suspend street sweeping and trash and recycling pickup.

The Swim Center, Memorial Park Gym and Fitness Room, Skate Park, Reed Park Tennis Office and the Beach House will operate on a reduced service schedule like other holidays, officials said.

City employees will receive a paid holiday for each of the two days.

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