Mayor Peduto introducing bill to make ‘Juneteenth’ an official Pittsburgh holiday

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced Monday that he is introducing a bill to City Council following up on his pledge to make Juneteenth an official City holiday.

Peduto previously made the pledge in August 2020 at a Black Voting Rights Forum at St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Lower Hill District.

Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the U.S. in 1863, and last year celebrated the 150th year of Black men’s right to vote and the 100th year of Black women’s right to vote.

“Juneteenth reminds us of the rich history of Black Pittsburgh and celebrates those who worked hard so that Black people’s voices could be heard through voting,” Peduto previously said.

“Throughout history, many have tried to silence Black voices. We have arrived in a critical time where they are finally getting the attention that they deserve – and they are being heard. Many of us, particularly privileged white men, have not always listened as much as we should have. The time is now to make that change permanent, and formally set aside this holiday to celebrate Black voices,” Peduto said in a news release.

Since the June 19th holiday falls this year on a Saturday, it is set to be celebrated on Friday, June 18.

The legislation from the Department of Human Services and Civil Service is set to be introduced Tuesday and discussed at Council’s Standing Committees meeting on Feb. 10.