Juneteenth approved by Rockwood Board

Blake Jaycox, Staff Reporter

President Joe Biden established June 19 as a federal holiday, known as Juneteenth, that commemorates the end of slavery. On Jan. 20, 2022, the Rockwood Board of Education (BOE) approved Juneteenth as a paid holiday that will benefit workers in the district who work year-long. 

Rockwood’s assistant superintendent of human resources Katie Reboulet called for the approval of Juneteenth.

“This is the first Federal Holiday since Martin Luther King Junior Day, approved in 1983,” Reboulet said

The motion to make Juneteenth a paid holiday at the board meeting on Jan. 20 was motioned by BOE director Keith Kinder, seconded by BOE director Lynne Midyett and approved by the rest of the board. 

Though some students may not know about Junteenth, senior Surayya Cazembe values it and its recognition. 

“To me, it’s a very important holiday that I’m glad has been nationally recognized,” Cazembe said.

Juneteenth, also known as second Independence Day according to the Smithsonian Magazine, serves to represent the independence of enslaved people following the Civil War. Senior Zakee Branch and his family celebrate Juneteenth. 

“My family doesn’t celebrate the Fourth of July because we just think it’s like a colonization holiday. So we celebrate Juneteenth instead because it’s more of like a black celebrated holiday,” Branch said. 

Branch said he found out about Juneteenth from a TV show called black-ish, which can be found on Hulu.

“I learned about Juneteenth not too long ago, maybe four years ago, on a show. I was really shocked and I was like, ‘how have I not heard about this in my life before?’ It was just really awakening to me,” Branch said.