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Cayuga County Legislature votes to make Juneteenth a county holiday

A screenshot of a Cayuga County Legislature meeting held on Monday, January 22, 2024.
Cayuga County
Youtube Screenshot
A screenshot of a Cayuga County Legislature meeting held on Monday, January 22, 2024.

The Cayuga County Legislature voted Tuesday to make Juneteenth a county holiday.

Legislator Brian Muldrow is the first Black lawmaker to serve on the county legislature. He introduced the resolution and did not fault anyone for the county's failure to recognize the holiday in the past. But he said they have the chance to get it right — noting the tremendous history of both Cayuga County and Auburn.

"For the people that believe that Juneteenth is a Black holiday, you're wrong," Muldrow said. "Juneteenth is an American holiday. Is American as baseball. American as American pie is American."

The legislation passed by a 10-1 vote. Legislator Hans Pecher cast the sole vote against, saying it was not out of disrespect for the Black community but because of financial concerns about adding a 13th paid holiday.

"The cost is estimated somewhere around $150,000 for that day that we're going to get no production," Pecher said. "So I would support this if this was brought up as a holiday, without pay, just the holiday period so you could celebrate."

The resolution allows the county chairwoman to negotiate with unions representing county employees to implement the holiday.

Juneteenth became a federal and state holiday in 2021 and is observed on June 19. On years the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be observed on the Friday or Monday respectively.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.