At a recent meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors it was decided to approve several changes to the County’s holiday calendar. The board approved the addition of Juneteenth and Election Day which follows in the footsteps of the decision made by the General Assembly in Richmond.
The Board also removed Columbus Day from the calendar as per a move also made by the General Assembly.
“Fairfax County is moving forward and our holidays must reflect that. I am committed to our values that include a diverse, inclusive and equitable society,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay commented about the changes to the calendar.
The Virginia General Assembly approved the addition of Juneteenth back in Oct. 2020 after a bill introduced back in June by Delegate Joshua Cole (D-Fredericksburg) was passed and officially signed by Governor Ralph Northam.
Juneteenth is typically celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the ending of slavery in the state of Texas. The Emancipation Proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 abolished slavery in the Confederacy of which Texas was a member and was the last to abolish slavery in June 1865.
The Board of Supervisors also added Election Day to the calendar in response to similar action taken in Richmond. Gov. Northam officially signed the bill back in April 2020 after it was sponsored by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria and Fairfax County) and Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax County) in late 2019.
The bill also allows early voting 45 days prior to an election without an excuse. Election Day officially replaced Lee-Jackson Day via another bill sponsored by Del. Joe Lindsey (D-Norfolk) and Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth).
“Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,” stated Governor Northam in an April 2020 press release. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard. I’m proud to sign these bills into law.”
Fairfax also removed Columbus Day which had been removed in October 2020 and was replaced by Indigenous People’s Day. Virginia became the 14th state to recognize the day along with Washington D.C. and will be observed on Oct. 12 in place of Columbus Day.
Virginia is home to 11 state-recognized tribes including the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, Mattaponi Indian Tribe, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, Rappahannock Tribe and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe.