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Salt Lake County honors Juneteenth, activists call for it to be a national holiday
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Juneteenth events scheduled for Salt Lake County

(The Juneteenth flag, before it was raised outside the Salt Lake County complex. Credit: Paul Nelson)
SALT LAKE CITY — Juneteenth was officially declared a federal holiday and Salt Lake City will have a few events to celebrate. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. 
 
President Biden signed the bill on Tuesday declaring June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day. Following President Biden’s lead, Utah Governor Spencer Cox then recognized Juneteenth on the state level. 

The government has the power to make it a state holiday via a proclamation, but a Senate spokesperson said the proclamation would have to be declared every year thereafter. 

Some businesses remain open on Juneteenth

Despite Juneteenth being a federal holiday, some agencies will still be open. The United States Postal Service (USPS) will also remain open. 

In a statement, USPS said, “It is not possible to cease the operations of the Postal Service to accommodate an observance over the next 24-48 hours.” USPS is critical to the nation’s infrastructure and people depend on their services to receive mail. 

“Closing down our operations without providing appropriate time would lead to operational disruptions and be a disservice to our customers and those who rely upon us. For that reason, the Postal Service will be operating on June 18 and 19, 2021, on a normal schedule, serving our customers to the best of our ability,” USPS continued. 

Some state employees will also have to work.

Additionally, the federal courts will be open in Utah for appointments and jail transports. These could not be canceled on the short notice provided by President Biden signing the bill into law on Thursday.  

The office of the United States Attorney for Utah said if they did cancel those appointments it could affect people’s constitutional rights. 

Juneteenth events in Salt Lake County  

The Black Cultural Center, along with the University of Utah, announced events people can attend in Salt Lake County to celebrate Juneteenth. 

 

32nd annual Heritage and Freedom Festival- Ogden, UT

Summer of Love Juneteenth Event- Salt Lake City, UT

First annual Juneteenth Gala- Salt Lake City, UT

Juneteenth Block Party- Salt Lake City, UT

Juneteenth at Liberty Park- Salt Lake City, UT

Juneteenth at The Complex- Salt Lake City, UT

Juneteenth: A celebration of Black voices- Salt Lake City, UT