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Making Juneteenth a holiday in Toledo taking longer than some hoped

Skyline of Toledo, Ohio.
Skyline of Toledo, Ohio.(WTVG)
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:43 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The process of making Juneteenth a holiday in the city of Toledo is taking longer than some would like. It’s already now a federal holiday, but making it official here hasn’t happened yet.

As the discussion started on adding Juneteenth, another holiday was proposed to be taken off. That’s where things started to unravel.

There was no known pushback to the part of the legislation recognizing Juneteenth as a city of Toledo holiday in 2022 and beyond. Further in the ordinance, the city would replace Good Friday’s paid holiday with Juneteenth. That didn’t sit well.

“You don’t drag something out that has big importance, huge importance to a significant population,” said Toledo City Councilwoman Dr. Cecelia Adams.

Dr. Adams tried to amend the legislation that would have kept Good Friday and add Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. President Joe Biden made it a federal holiday earlier this year. Toledo was poised to make it official here last Tuesday, but the mayor’s administration pulled the legislation.

“It not only didn’t remove Good Friday but it didn’t add Juneteenth. So I think that was short-sighted,” said Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams says there was an amendment that day to clear it all up. The mayor’s office says it plans to introduce new legislation in the next few weeks keeping Good Friday and adding Juneteenth, but for some the delay is puzzling.

“I don’t think they have a sense of urgency. It almost appears to be somewhat clueless and tone deaf,” said Dr. Adams.

The cost has come up in the discussion as some employees like first responders will not be able to have the day off. Some on council have asked to see that figure and what impact an additional day off will have. Council’s next meeting is on September 15.

You’re not hearing opposition to keeping both Good Friday and now adding Juneteenth, it’s just a matter of putting pen to paper.

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