PFLUGERVILLE, Texas - On Tuesday Pflugerville’s City Council voted to add June 19th or Juneteenth to its list of official holidays recognized by the city. City holidays include city facility closures, on the designated holiday and if you work for the city you’ll be off work.
City and community leaders say this was a long time coming. Neighbors have been working for years to have the end of slavery honored in Pflugerville but the work is far from over.
“For some, Juneteenth is a new holiday, something they just discovered or just recently experienced given everything going on in the country," said councilmember Rudy Metayer. "But for most people, particularly those in Pflugerville a place of reflection, celebration and a point of pride regarding what’s happening in our country back in 1865 and where we’re at today.”
Metayer says though there are other issues that still linger, Pflugerville honoring the end of slavery on its list of official holidays is a huge moment. “Reflect, celebrate, see where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
The decision was passed unanimously at a city meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd.
Metayer says Pflugerville is the most diverse city in Central Texas. “Pflugerville is not only the first city in Central Texas to say Juneteenth will be a holiday but also we did the same with the equity commission. There are no other cities in our region that has an equity commission.”
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!
Meme Styles, President of MEASURE, curated the equity commission which was also passed on the same day Juneteenth was in the city’s meeting.
Styles says this law establishes the first equity commission for the city that focuses on inclusion diversity and equitable circumstances for all Pflugerville residents. "This is a time where especially black people are tired of just the bells and whistles and dog and pony show, we need to go out and we need policies and we need metrics that are going to assess actual progress within our local government," she said.
Styles says this was created for the people by the people before the recent national issues came up. “I very much so believe that they kind of go hand-in-hand right because of the passing of this commission is again the city saying that we value the voice and we value the people, all people. Each person no matter how you choose to love or choose to worship that you are valued.”
Metayer says next is figuring out how to make this a national holiday, and he encourages folks to write letters to their local leaders in congress, senators, and state representatives.
“How would one celebrate Juneteenth, one in all sincerity, educate yourself. This is all American history. Look at slave history, racism, the history of despaired impacts and implicit bias, do something about it,” Metayer said.
June 19, 2021 falls on a Saturday and the city holiday will fall on either the Friday before or Monday after.