Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021

Commissioner Board Will Raise the Juneteenth Flag at the Union County Courthouse

Flag raising ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 19.

Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to invite the public to attend the second annual Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony on Saturday, June 19, at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Union County Courthouse, located at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth.

The Juneteenth Flag was created in 1997 to commemorate June 19, 1865, when the citizens of Galveston, Texas were finally notified about the abolition of slavery. President Lincoln had signed the Proclamation of Emancipation more than two years earlier, on January 1, 1863.

“By raising this flag, we recognize Juneteenth as a date that marks a formative event in American history, affirms the enduring achievements of African Americans, and looks forward to the continued fight for progress and equality,” said Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We are very proud to join municipalities and organizations in Union County that are also celebrating Juneteenth.”

In addition to the flag raising ceremony, Union County is co-sponsoring several local events in celebration of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is among the longest-running celebrations of emancipation in the United States, though its place in popular culture was obscured by segregationist policies during the 20th century. More recently, interest in Juneteenth has surged as a way to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize their foundational role in the nation’s history from the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa in America in 1619, up to the present day.

New Jersey has officially recognized Juneteenth Day as a state holiday, and this week the U.S. Senate passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The bill must pass the House and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.

“The raising of the Juneteenth Flag highlights the contributions of African-Americans in our diverse community and in our nation. As a woman with family born, raised and currently living in Galveston, Texas, I also have a very personal connection to Juneteenth, and I am proud to see Union County honor this date in history,” said Commissioner Board Vice Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

Out of 21 counties in New Jersey, less than half have recognized the date as a county holiday. The number of counties honoring the state law will grow in 2022, as Union County, as well as Middlesex County, plan to join Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Somerset, Sussex and Passaic in recognizing Juneteenth as a County holiday. Other counties are undecided. 

“As each county, including our own, continues to recognize the nation’s history as a painful one, it becomes all the more clear that the universal power and resiliency of the human spirit, love of country, and determination to build a better future for all must have a day of celebration, as well as a day for honoring our ancestors, and uniting and educating ourselves and the greater community about the significance of Juneteenth,” said Commissioner, Dr.  Angela R. Garretson. “We are very proud to raise the Juneteenth Flag in recognition of the end to the historic practice of slavery, and in honor of the freedom of all people in the United States.”

“The Juneteenth flag is composed of specific symbols that tell the story, and the one that resonates the most to me is the arc across the middle of the flag. Like a horizon in the distance, it represents the promise of the future and the road we must travel to get there. We proudly welcome the entire Union County community to join us for this special flag raising ceremony,” said Commissioner Andrea Staten.

The flag-raising ceremony will include readings from the Proclamation of Emancipation and from the State Senate bill that established Juneteenth Day as a public holiday in New Jersey.

For more information about the Juneteenth Flag ceremony, contact James Pellettiere, Clerk of the Board at jpellettiere@ucnj.org or 908-527-4140.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Union County COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

##

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.

Facebook Feed