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Michigan Supreme Court considers adding Juneteenth as court holiday

Juneteenth marks when enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed under the Emancipation Proclamation.
Juneteenth marks when enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed under the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering a proposal to make Juneteenth a state court holiday.

Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S., became a federal holiday last year. The Michigan Supreme Court could replace Black Friday, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve with Juneteenth as a state court holiday, or simply add it to its calendar.

Zenell Brown is the executive court administrator for the Third Judicial Circuit Court in Wayne County. She says there’s a financial aspect to making Juneteenth a court holiday. Brown says when county leadership recognized it last year, her court did not. “So our funding unit encountered having to pay overtime to make sure that we had the staff needed for our courts. I realized that in other jurisdictions, they’re going to have to look at these issues too,” she says.

The Michigan Supreme Court has received about 50 comments on the proposal. There’s no timetable for a decision.

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.