In the spirit of inclusiveness, and on behalf of Sterling Heights City Council, Mayor Michael Taylor issued two proclamations at the June 16 Regular City Council meeting.
The first declared June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth Independence Day in the City of Sterling Heights. The second proclaimed June 2020 as Pride Month in the city of Sterling Heights.
“I thank the mayor and city council for leading the way, remaining laser focused on our community’s vision and making inclusivity a guiding light in everything we do,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool.
Juneteenth Independence Day is recognized throughout much of the country as the date on which slavery came to an end in the United States. While President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing many slaves in the South, the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to certain slave-holding states until after the end of the Civil War. News of the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach the frontier areas of the United States for two months, and more than 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was first issued.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free. Since then, African American communities have recognized June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day, a day for celebration, inspiration, encouragement and remembrance.
In this spirit, the city of Sterling Heights celebrates that Americans of all colors, creeds, cultures, religions, and countries-of-origin, share a common respect and love for freedom, and recognizes what Juneteenth Independence Day historically means to the United States and all Americans, by promoting healing, reconciliation, sincere discussion and reflection.
In addition, consistent with the City’s 2030 Visioning Statement, the city of Sterling Heights remains a “vibrant, inclusive community for all residents and businesses that is safe, active, progressive and distinctive.” In this spirit, the City is committed to supporting the visibility, dignity, and equity of all people.
June has become a symbolic month around the world for LGBTQ+ people and friends to come together in various celebrations of acceptance, equality, and pride. As such, the city of Sterling Heights recognizes and supports all LGBTQ+ persons, those persons and organizations who work to promote the equality and well-being of LGBTQ+ persons, as well as all those affected by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
In support of this symbolic month, June 2020 has been proclaimed Pride Month in the city of Sterling Heights, and City leadership encourages all residents, employers, and community organizations in Sterling Heights to celebrate the valuable contributions of the LGBTQ+ community who enrich the diversity and vitality of our neighborhoods, institutions, government organizations, and businesses.
“Proclamations such as these, while symbolic, are critical to highlighting the history, culture, celebrations and notable contributions of two very important groups within our community,” said Taylor. “By issuing these proclamations, we draw attention to important times of reflection and commemoration for our African American and LGBTQ+ residents while encouraging others to appreciate the significance of these moments and the positive impacts these groups have had on our community and our nation.”