The city of Langley will have a new holiday on the calendar this year.
During a meeting Monday night, the city council discussed the importance of Langley recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday.
The recommendation to recognize the holiday comes from the city’s Dismantling Systemic Racism Commission, or DSR, which was formed in 2020. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
In a memo to the city council, the DSR recommended the holiday be declared with the specific goals to “celebrate, educate and agitate.”
Councilmember Craig Cyr, the liaison for the citizen-led committee, said the members did not want “dry acceptance” without some acknowledgement of the importance of the holiday.
“What Juneteenth symbolizes is freedom and Juneteenth offers a reminder of the work yet to be done,” he said.
He added that the DSR, while not a planning organization, is looking for other citizens to step forward within the next six weeks to plan a celebration.
Councilmember Harolynne Bobis said she agreed with the DSR that Juneteenth should not just be a day off.
She and Cyr concurred to step forward and help with some of the planning.
“I think this is definitely a long time coming,” Councilmember Thomas Gill said.
He suggested that information could be sent out to residences along with utility bills. He explained that some people don’t understand what the holiday actually signifies.
“Education is the best weapon against ignorance, for sure,” he said.