OMLO is proud to acknowledge and honor Juneteenth, the oldest national observance of the ending of slavery in the United States. The holiday commemorates the events of June 19, 1865, when, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to bring freedom to more than a quarter of a million enslaved Black Americans in the former Confederacy.
On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation into law that established June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday. Earlier this month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a proclamation making Juneteenth an official City holiday and a paid holiday for City employees. Currently, OMLO is tracking a bill (AB 1655) which, if passed, would amend Sections 37220, 45203, 79020, and 88203 of the Education Code, as well as Sections 6700, 19853, and 19853.1 of the Government Code to make June 19, known as “Juneteenth,” a California state holiday. If AB 1655 is approved by the Legislature and signed into law, June 19th will become a permanent official holiday for California public schools, community colleges, and the California State University system. Paid time off for the holiday would also be granted to all state employees.
We at the firm take this time to reflect on the significance of this historic day and pay tribute to the resilience and indelible achievements of the Black community. One hundred and fifty-seven years after the first Juneteenth, many byproducts of slavery remain in our nation. As we honor slavery’s end, we recognize the important work left to be done in undoing our country’s deeply-rooted legacy of racism and injustice.
As a certified minority-owned law firm, we understand the ongoing impact that implicit bias, discrimination, and institutional racism have had on our communities. For this reason, OMLO remains steadfastly committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession by creating a work environment that includes talent from all backgrounds and beliefs. Through these hiring practices and the firm’s community involvement, we strive to address racial disparity in our field and work to eliminate long-standing barriers faced by communities of color.
We are also reminded of the crucial role that state and local governments play in advancing equality for all. Working for equality at the state and local levels is essential in implementing policy changes that drive meaningful social progress. As a firm with a long-standing history of serving local municipalities, as well as volunteerism and outreach within our communities, we remain steadfast in our continued commitment to the fight against systemic racism and the desire to meet our country’s ideals and achieve true equality for all.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King