TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of Tampa is marking a first this year: it will fly the Juneteenth flag atop of Old City Hall.
Across the country, Juneteenth is getting a lot more attention after Congress voted, and the president agreed, to make the day a national holiday.
“Today is a day of celebration. It is not only a day of pride, it is also a day for us to reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to action. With that I say happy Juneteenth everybody,” Vice President Kamala Harris said.
This will mean several things. First, this is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created back in 1983.
Most federal employees will have the day off, observing it this year on Friday since it falls on a weekend.
President Biden said Thursday after signing the new holiday that this is a big step in equality for all.
“Emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didn’t mark the end of America’s word to deliver on the promise of equality. It only marked the beginning,” Biden said. “To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth we have to continue towards that promise because we have not gotten there yet.”
The Tampa Bay Juneteenth coalition is working to change and expand the education into this important holiday. The state of Florida currently does not mention Juneteenth in the curriculum or textbooks.
“We are kings and queens. We’ve always been kings and queens, but we were never taught that. Education is power,” Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition President Philetha Tucker-Johnson said.
This weekend, not only is the Juneteenth flag flying above Tampa City Hall, but the bridges will be lit up red, green and yellow. There are several other events happening across the Tampa Bay area as well.