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Most Federal Workers to Observe Juneteenth on Friday: OPM

NBC Washington D.C. logo NBC Washington D.C. 6/17/2021 NBC Washington Staff
Carolyn Maloney, Andre Carson, Jim Clyburn, Nancy Pelosi, Joyce Beatty standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and other members attend a bill enrollment ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the Capitol on June 17, 2021. In the front row from left are, Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Clyburn, Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Pelosi, Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif. © Provided by NBC Washington D.C.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and other members attend a bill enrollment ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the Capitol on June 17, 2021. In the front row from left are, Reps. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Clyburn, Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Pelosi, Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

Most federal employees will observe Juneteenth on Friday after President Joe Biden signs the new holiday into law on Thursday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said. 

The holiday commemorating the end of slavery is June 19, which falls on a Saturday this year, so it will be observed on a workday. 

Biden is expected to sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on Thursday afternoon. 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

Scores of federal workers in the D.C. area will get the day off. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that state government offices will be closed Friday as well. 

“This is an important step forward for our country,” Hogan said in a statement. “Maryland is proud to support this legislation, and observe this new national holiday.”

Friday will be a holiday in D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said. She did not immediately say which government services will be canceled or offices will be closed. Additional information is expected later Thursday.

Here are events and festivals at which you can observe the holiday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.

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