On June 15, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson announced Executive Order #20-15, making Juneteenth Day an official holiday in Milwaukee County this year.
On Thursday, June 25, the Juneteenth Day holiday became permanent as the County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution making June 19 an ongoing County holiday.
"Marking Juneteenth as an official holiday is a declaration that Black Lives Matter, and it is an invitation to all Milwaukee County residents to reflect upon the significance of this day and the struggles that Black Americans have endured for the past 401 years," said Nicholson on Thursday.
"Providing County employees with one more paid holiday is a demonstration of our commitment to improving the health and wellness of all County employees through the pursuit of racial equity."
Last week, when the 2020 date was declared a holiday, Crowley, the first African-American elected to the office, issued a statement, saying, "Beginning this year, Milwaukee County will officially recognize this important day in American history," said
"Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the rich history and culture of the African American community. It is also a day to appreciate the long struggle for civil rights that Black people in America have faced for centuries. I am hopeful that our employees will be able to take June 19 as a day ‘on’ not a day off in order to fully support Black lives, liberation and the vision of Milwaukee County to achieve racial equity and become the healthiest county in Wisconsin."
The 2020 holiday was declared via an Administration Order, "to ensure employees can utilize the floating holiday in 2020."
The board resolution passed Thursday included an amendment that makes Juneteenth a "major" holiday, which means all county facilities will, from now on, be closed on June 19.
"As America begins, again, to open our hearts and minds to fully accept and seek to redress centuries of oppression and systemic racism, Milwaukee County is taking a step forward to formally acknowledge and celebrate Black Independence Day and all that it symbolizes," Nicholson said in the July 15 statement.
"One day, perhaps all Americans will sing the Black National Anthem together at the start of sporting events and other gatherings, and celebrate freedom and equity for ALL Americans, the true promise of these United States."
Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Day celebration, which began in 1971, is one of the longest-running in the U.S. This year’s event, however, has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Juneteenth Day was made an optional City of Milwaukee holiday in 2014.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.