PITTSBURGH, PA (August 29, 2020) At the Black Voting Rights Forum today at St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Lower Hill District, Mayor William Peduto announced that Juneteenth will be an official City of Pittsburgh holiday starting in 2021.
The announcement was made at the forum celebrating the 150th year of Black men’s right to vote and the 100th year of Black women’s right to vote. Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States in 1863.
“Today, we celebrate those who fought for equitable access to voting – who fought to tell the world that Black people have a voice and that voice is important to helping to shape the future of our neighborhoods, our state and our country.
We also celebrate those who have kept the rich culture and heritage of our Black communities alive and thriving – those such as B Marshall and others, who have passed along the rich tradition of Juneteenth in Pittsburgh every year with the Grand Jubilee of Freeman Parade, which was started in Pittsburgh in 1870.
Today, I’m announcing that starting June 19, 2021, Juneteenth will be a holiday in the City of Pittsburgh by order of the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. This follows a resolution by Council President Theresa Kail-Smith commemorating the holiday this summer.
Juneteenth reminds us of the rich history of Black Pittsburgh and celebrates those who worked hard so that Black people’s voices could be heard through voting.
Throughout history, many have tried to silence Black voices. We have arrived in a critical time where they are finally getting the attention that they deserve – and they are being heard. Many of us, particularly privileged white men, have not always listened as much as we should have. The time is now to make that change permanent, and formally set aside this holiday to celebrate Black voices."