(CNN)Rallies, peaceful marches and celebrations commemorating Juneteenth occurred across the United States on Friday, bringing together countless Americans in remembrance as the nation confronts a history saturated with systemic racism and injustice.
Amid nationwide rallies and celebrations, more cities, states and universities designate Juneteenth as an official holiday
Juneteenth, known as the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, is not yet a US national holiday. While it has been celebrated by Black Americans for over 150 years, states, cities and universities around the country have begun to acknowledge the often-overlooked date as one that deserves greater recognition.
Beginning next year, Juneteenth will officially be a holiday in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
"We'll work with all the unions to work through the plan, give this day the importance and recognition it deserves. Every city worker, every student will have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of our history and the truth, and to think about the work that we have to do ahead," de Blasio said.
The official city holiday designation also comes with the establishment of a new commission that will work to understand the effects of structural and institutional racism in New York City and "create a historical record of racial discrimination, with an emphasis on housing, criminal justice, environmental racism and public health," according to a city press release.
"The movements led by African American people changed this country to the core and will continue to. So, this is just a beginning to acknowledge this holiday, but we have a lot more to do," de Blasio said.
In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a proclamation recognizing June 19 as "Juneteenth Day" in the nation's capital, calling this year's celebrations "particularly significant as Black Lives Matter demonstrations happen across all 50 American states and around the world to protest centuries of police brutality and systemic racism against African Americans."